In the past the caravans used to take overland paths of the Great Silk Road seeking after the shortest routes possible. And now the airliners of "Uzbekistan Airways" fly above the ancient caravan trails following the most optimum air routes.
By the time Uzbekistan got its independence it was a country of highly developed aviation carrying out aircraft operations with forty-five towns and cities of the Soviet Union. But the most striking thing about flight timetable of those days was complete absence of international flights except the transit one to Delhi, which started in Moscow.
The break-up of the Soviet Union, severance of established relations, certain difficulties connected with entering market economy- all this attended with the creation of the National Airline "Uzbekistan Airways", which was founded in 1992. As a result, volume of air carriage decreased almost three times by that time.
But Uzbek government and top management of the National Airline had a strategic plan - to create a wide network of international air communications. First of all it was necessary to introduce air communications with the neighbouring countries, such as Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, and China. But perseverance wins and making up for the lost time Uzbekistan has confidently gained a foothold in the world air carriage business.
In the 1990s, virtually every six months, new destinations were added to the air route chart. First flight to London was launched in 1992, and subsequently "Uzbekistan Airways" began to carry out regular flights to Delhi, Kuala-Lumpur, Tel Aviv, Beijing. In 1993 there were launched flights to Frankfurt-on-Maine and Bangkok, and less than one year later the list of destinations increased by two more cities - Athens and Seoul. Since 1995 there has been launched a transcontinental route Tashkent-New York, followed by such new destinations as Istanbul, Sharjah, Jeddah. In new millennium the company proceeded this tendency of enriching the geography of flights and there were set up the airlines to Rome, Birmingham, Amritsar, Paris, Osaka, Tokyo, Dhakka, Hanoi, Ho Shi Min and Shanghai. Nowadays the representations of Uzbekistan Airways that is included in the list of the world leading air carriers are located in 38 foreign countries.
Sixty-nine flights, including 19 flights from Tashkent, are carried out on a weekly basis to cities and towns of the CIS. Apart from Moscow, which daily serves four flights of "Uzbekistan Airways", St. Petersburg and a number of other large cities of Russia, the Uzbek airliners fly to Kiev, Minsk, Baku, Tbilisi, Almaty, Ashgabad.
Every week 165 flights serve various destinations within Uzbekistan. This number has covered the country"s needs so far. However, the Company is ready to further expand the geography of its domestic as well as international operations.
During its activity "Uzbekistan Airways" has carried out air transportation for more than twenty-five millions passengers and about forty thousand tons of cargo, maintaining stable level of transportation services. "Uzbekistan Airways" has become known as one of the most authoritative and trustworthy air carriers within the CIS after the International Fund on Aviation Safety had awarded to the Company a special diploma "For remarkable contribution in safety of flights".
At the International Conference "Strategy and tactics of airports activities under existing conditions" Tashkent international airport, which provides world-class services up to a thousand passengers per hour, was recognized as one of leaders in the long list of the CIS international airports.
"Uzbekistan Airways" aircraft fleet deserves a special mentioning. During all these years the company has replenished its aircraft fleet with the most updated and superior airliners. Now the technical park of the Company includes seven Boeing-767 and Boeing-757, three airliners A-310 and three RJ-85. While renewing its fleet the Company seeks after optimum combination of such aircraft characteristics as reliability, capacity, flight distance and efficiency.
As it was noted by Valeriy Tyan, General Director of "Uzbekistan Airways" in one of his official speeches, in spite of obviously increasing competition, rise in fuel cost and other no less essential difficulties, aviation of Uzbekistan keeps developing and it steadily holds its positions in both domestic and international markets". The Company's near-term objective is to open a new route to Toronto and to increase a number of flights to Azerbaijan.
"Uzbekistan Airways" contributes to the development of international tourism, fruitfully cooperates with tourist companies, and actively participates in tourism fairs. Due to the fact that alongside with Tashkent Airport, airports in Samarkand, Bukhara, Termez and Khiva enjoy the status of international airport, travelers from all over the world can make a comfortable flight to these ancient cities located on the Great Silk Road.
In aviation the sky is called "the fifth ocean". And this ocean of air helps nations to open the world as well as to be opened up. For Uzbekistan, which is located in the very centre of the continent, aircrafts become the bridges that connect the country with the whole world. As long as the sky is serene, nothing can stop a man from flying.