SAMARKAND, Uzbekistan, March 18, 2024 – Air Samarkand is to commence its scheduled flight programme on Thursday, 21st March, operating on the Samarkand - Istanbul - Samarkand route with its Airbus A321neo aircraft. In the initial phase, return services will operate twice a week, departing on Mondays and Thursdays from Samarkand International Airport (SKD) to Istanbul International Airport (IST), with a scheduled flight time of about 5 hours.

Air Samarkand has also announced the appointment of Zafar Butaev as its new CEO, succeeding Anton Khodiayan, who will continue serving as an advisor to the airline while reverting to his position as Director General of the airport management company Air Marakanda.

Istanbul is one of the most sought-after destinations from Samarkand, connecting the largest city in Turkey with Uzbekistan through centuries-old cultural, business and tourism ties. Istanbul airport also offers extensive onward travel opportunities to cities worldwide, and Air Samarkand plans to add further flight options on the city pairing in the near future.

Departures from Samarkand are scheduled for 8 am, arriving in Istanbul at 11.10 am, with return services departing from Istanbul at 12:30 pm and arriving back in Samarkand at 7:00 pm (all are local times).

The inaugural scheduled service marks a significant milestone for any airline, and Air Samarkand will offer passengers a world-class standard of comfort and service on the direct flights. There is also significant demand for tourism, cultural and business customers on this route and Air Samarkand looks forward to developing close commercial ties in Turkey as it establishes this new service.

Its modern Airbus A321 is widely used by leading airlines globally and has a proven record for safety, reliability and exceptional passenger comfort. Air Samarkand will operate the latest 'neo' variant of the A321, which is equipped with the new generation CFM International LEAP-1A engines that ensure low noise levels during the flight. The aircraft accommodates 221 passengers in a full economy-class cabin.

Air Samarkand will be offering customers an unprecedented baggage allowance of two checked bags weighing up to 23kg each, plus 8kg of carry-on cabin baggage.

Tickets for flights to Istanbul are available for purchase at, as well as at travel agencies connected to the Easy Booking system, and at Further sales will soon open on the airline's own website, as well as on other popular online ticket platforms and aggregators.