Air Samarkand, which has one A330-300, one A321 Neo and one A321 Ceo in its fleet, started scheduled flights between Samarkand and Istanbul.

The coordination of the airline is led by Cemal Topuzlu, an experienced figure in Turkish aviation. During a press tour organized to Semerkant, Cemal Topuzlu met with tourism, aviation, and economy reporters Turkish media, providing insights into Air Semerkand's objectives.

"We also aim to promote Semerkant."

Highlighting the exorbitant fares on the Semerkant-Istanbul route prior to their entry, Cemal Topuzlu indicated their intention to expand the current bi-weekly flight frequency to daily operations if allowed. He emphasized that beyond passenger transportation, their goal is to enhance both tourism and aviation in Semerkant. Topuzlu noted that competitive pricing is achievable due to the integration of airport, airline, ground services, fuel, and catering companies under the same group.

"We started with direct scheduled flights because we trust ourselves."

Topuzlu acknowledged the risk associated with newly established airlines commencing operations with direct scheduled flights, stating that most new airlines typically start with charters before transitioning to scheduled flights after about a year. However, Air Semerkand opted for direct scheduled flights from the outset due to confidence in their well-trained personnel and infrastructure. According to Topuzlu, establishing a brand in aviation is best achieved through scheduled flights rather than charters.

"There were exorbitant fares on the Semerkant-Istanbul route."

Topuzlu recalled that currently, there are only two weekly flights permitted to Istanbul Airport. Air Semerkand operates these flights on Mondays and Thursdays, departing Semerkant at 08:00 local time and returning from Istanbul at 12:30 Türkiye time. Topuzlu highlighted their efforts to significantly reduce fares on this route to promote Semerkant and facilitate travel. He emphasized the importance of attracting passengers to Semerkant and leveraging the existing infrastructure, including eight hotels in the Silk Road region.

Air Samarkand

"We granted passengers a baggage allowance of 54 kilograms."

Topuzlu drew attention to the luggage trade on the Semerkant-Istanbul route, stating that passengers are granted a baggage allowance of 46 kilograms for checked luggage and 8 kilograms for carry-on baggage, totaling 54 kilograms. He mentioned that other airlines typically charge between 5 to 15 dollars per kilogram for excess baggage.

The target for this year is 500,000 passengers.

Topuzlu "We plan to fly over 500,000 passengers this year with our current aircraft, aiming to accommodate at least 200,000 overnight stays in Semerkant." said.

"We will train aviation personnel in Uzbekistan."

Topuzlu noted the shortage of aviation personnel in Uzbekistan and their reliance on foreign personnel, leading to administrative complexities. "Air Semerkand has initiated efforts to train aviation personnel in Uzbekistan in collaboration with two universities, aiming to train personnel locally, including cabin crew. While considering foreign training support, the ultimate goal is to establish an infrastructure for training personnel in all areas of aviation domestically. Hiring foreign personnel is costlier due to expatriate arrangements. They aim to establish the entire training infrastructure by next year." said Topuzlu.