Uzbekistan’s Samarkand International Airport (SKD/UTSS), the third largest airport in the country, has celebrated the first anniversary of its terminal opening.

Operated by Air Marakanda in partnership with Uzbekistan Airports, the airport is the first public-private partnership in the history of Uzbekistan aviation.

Equipped with the latest technology and services for customer comfort and security, including e-Gates and self-check-in services, the airport has been recognised by SkyTrax as one of the top ten airports in Central Asia and has joined the Airports Council International (ACI Europe).

Samarkand also recently welcomed Kuwait's Jazeera Airways for the first time, connecting Uzbekistan with Kuwait City and the wider Gulf region, and has now restarted twice weekly flights to Almaty, Kazakhstan, by Kazakhstani carrier FlyArystan. Samarkand will also soon welcome first flights from Russia's low-cost Pobeda Airlines, while other international airlines already flying to the airport include Turkish Airlines, Air Dubai, Azerbaijan Airways, and Wizz Air (Hungary).

Looking ahead to 2023, Samarkand International Airport will undertake further development, including aiming to secure international safety and security standard certificates and systems, alongside implementing an automated car parking system. The airport also intends to increase passenger traffic by almost 65%, working towards its long-term route and passenger development plans that aim to increase its destinations to 30 with annual passenger traffic increasing from 480,000 to two million.

Air Marakanda commercial director Dmitry Martynenko said: "As we celebrate our first anniversary we look back over the past year with pride and forward with ambition and commitment. Ambition to improve every facet of our offering, from customer service to operational efficiency, security to international connectivity; and commitment to the 'new Uzbekistan' as we connect our people to the world and the world to our nation, growing opportunities, creating jobs, and contributing to the national economy."

Image: Air Marakanda