Samarkand’s Air Marakanda Welcomes Maiden Flight from China


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SAMARKAND, Uzbekistan, Oct. 16, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Direct flights between Samarkand and Urumqi have been initiated between Air Marakanda, operator of Samarkand International Airport, and China Southern Airlines, China’s largest air carrier.

An opening ceremony, attended by the management of Air Marakanda and China Southern Airlines, took place at the terminal of Samarkand International Airport, where passengers enjoyed a thematic photo zone, a tea ceremony with sweet treats and Samarkand mulberry paper adorned with Chinese calligraphic inscriptions. According to tradition, a water arch greeted the arrival of the flight at the airfield of Samarkand Airport, and the first passengers arriving from China enjoyed the sounds of karnaya and harsh played by local musicians.

At a press conference featuring Air Marakanda CEO of Anton Khodzhayan, Commercial Director Artem Pak, Head of the Samarkand regional branch of the Civil Service Development Agency Rustam Kobilov and General Director of China Southern Airlines’ office in Tashkent Shen Yi, the participants noted the great potential of flights between Samarkand and Urumqi.

Anton Khodjayan, Air Marakandas CEO, said:

We are pleased to welcome China Southern Airlines, whose direct flights between the ancient city of Samarkand and Urumqi mark a major new step for Uzbekistan aviation and tourism. China Southern Airlines‘ new Urumqi link will expand the opportunities for both direct flights between Uzbekistan and China, and for new international connections via the vast connection network of Western China’s largest city.”

Shen Yi, General Director of China Southern Airlines’ office in Tashkent, added:

“We see many more prospects for development in the field of tourism and trade between the two states and in the spirit of reviving the Great Silk Road, founded many centuries ago, China Southern has plans to open even more new routes between China and Samarkand in the near future.”

Flights from Urumqi to Samarkand will operate once weekly, departing at 11:20 pm on Sunday.

Flights from Samarkand to Urumqi will depart at 01:30 am on Monday.

China Southern Airlines will operate using Boeing 737-800 aircraft for the flights, with ticket prices starting from $200 one way. Tickets can be purchased, and additional services arranged, at Samarkand International Airport’s 24-hour ticket office, etc.

The inauguration of this route now connects the political, economic and cultural center of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the north-western part of China with historic Samarkand for the first time.


About Air Marakanda

AIR MARAKANDA is responsible for ground handling and management of the new Samarkand International Airport terminal. It is the first project in the aviation industry of the Republic of Uzbekistan based on public-private partnership. For two years, the new Samarkand terminal has been within the top ten leaders in the Central Asian region of the World Airport Awards (SKYTRAX).

About China Southern Airlines

China Southern Airlines is China’s largest air carrier, the airline’s fleet ranks 1st in Asia in terms of the number of aircraft. China Southern Airlines operates more than 850 passenger and cargo transport aircraft, including Boeing B787, B777, B747 and B737, as well as Airbus A330, A321, A320, A319 and ARJ21. China Southern operates more than 3,000 daily flights to 224 destinations in 40 countries and regions of the world.

About Urumqi

Urumqi is the world’s most inland major city. The route network of Urumqi Airport consists of 69 domestic destinations, through which passengers can access the largest business, industrial and tourist cities of China.