November 29, 2017
RFE/RL’s Uzbek Service
TASHKENT — An Afghan Kam Air passenger jet landed at Tashkent International Airport on November 29 after making the first-ever direct commercial flight from Kabul to Uzbekistan’s capital.
The Uzbek government said earlier that talks on starting direct flights between the two capitals were under way and that a Kabul-Tashkent flight would begin operating twice a week as of December 8.
Without a direct flight, passengers from Afghanistan have to spend roughly 17 to 32 hours to reach Tashkent via Istanbul and Dubai.
The new flight from Kabul to Tashkent takes 90 minutes.
It is expected that Kam Air will use Tashkent airport as a hub for connections to European countries.
Media reports cited Uzbekistan Airways officials as saying that it will start operating flights from Tashkent to Kabul in the near future.
Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev, who came to power following the death of longtime autocrat Islam Karimov last year, has said that improving ties with Uzbekistan’s neighbors is a major foreign policy priority.