President Shavkat Mirziyoyev announced plans to transfer four Uzbek airports to private sector management in 2023 during his speech at the second Tashkent International Investment Forum on April 27, as reported by Gazeta.uz.
In the previously state-dominated aviation sector, five private airlines have now been established, with Samarkand airport being transferred to Air Marakanda. Consequently, the number of flights has experienced a 2.5-fold increase, according to the head of state.
Andijan, Namangan, Bukhara and Urgench airports are to be transferred to business management this year, he said.
“We are also initiating major changes in the railway sphere. I ask investors to actively participate in this,” Shavkat Mirziyoyev said.
In August 2020, the president instructed to develop, jointly with the World Bank, the terms of reference for the transfer of airports in Tashkent, Bukhara, Ferghana and Urgench to management on the “package principle” (when loss-making airports are transferred together with profitable ones). According to an analysis by international experts, modernizing the country’s existing airports would require an average of $800 million, it was reported at the time.
A presidential decree planned to hold tenders for 2022−2023 to attract private companies to implement major projects in partnership with the state. Among them are the modernisation and transfer of Tashkent International Airport and low-performance airports, as well as Bukhara and Urgench international airports to management on a public-private partnership basis.
In 2019, the former national airline Uzbekistan Airways was reorganised, with the separation of Uzbekistan Airways and Uzbekistan Airports (for airport management).