Czech Airlines will initiate scheduled service from Prague to Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, thereby enhancing the connections between Europe and Central Asia. With this new Czech Airlines route, Tashkent, the largest city in the area, will be linked to Prague twice a week.
Prague – On the basis of the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Uzbek side, Czech Airlines will begin operating its service to Tashkent on 19 August 2009, as regularly scheduled flights. Czech Airlines will fly this route with its most modern aircraft, the Airbus A319, with room for 135 passengers, using code-share cooperation with Uzbekistan Airways.
Czech Airlines aircraft will fly in the summer flight schedule on Wednesdays and Sundays, at 22:50. They will land in Tashkent, after a nearly six-hour flight, the next morning, at 7:15 local time. The aircraft will return from Tashkent to Prague on Mondays and Thursdays at 10:05, landing at Ruzyně Airport at 13:30 Central European daylight savings time. The departure and arrival times have been selected so as to suit not only the clientele travelling between Prague and Tashkent, but also to advantageously tie into Czech Airlines flights to and from Europe.
Czech Airlines expects that the new OK Prague – Tashkent route will be used not only by business passengers, but also by tourists from Uzbekistan. The local clientele, i.e., passengers not planning to transfer in Prague to connecting flights, but only travelling to the Czech Republic, should account for most of the passengers. With a transfer in Prague, the Tashkent route will also suit passengers from Central Asia, in flying on to anywhere in Western Europe; and on the other hand, passengers from Western Europe travelling to Central Asia. “Czech Airlines is the only Central European carrier offering scheduled direct flights to Tashkent,” said Vice President for Marketing and Product Development Petr Pištělák. As he adds: “Not only Central Asia, but also the Russian Federation and trans-Caucasian republics are important and promising markets for Czech Airlines, on which we intend to focus more.” The first step was the strengthening of service to nearly all of the routes to the area in this year’s summer schedule, and another is the opening of new routes.
Czech Airlines launched the Prague-Tashkent service on 3 July 2009, which was temporarily operated as charter flights. The Memorandum of Understanding with the Uzbek side was signed on 6 August 2009. It defines not only the extent and terms of cooperation, but also enables the service to function as scheduled flights and allows for its further development and full marketing and sales support, by both Czech Airlines and Uzbekistan Airways.
Tashkent is the capital of Uzbekistan and the largest and most populous city in Central Asia. Last year, it had 2.18 million officially registered inhabitants, but according to unofficial sources, there are 3 million people living in the city. Tashkent was originally established as an oasis on the River Chirchik and bore the name Shash or Chach, later Chachand. In the 8th century, it was conquered by the Arabs, and a century later by Genghis Khan. Tashkent was a part of several empires, and was destroyed and rebuilt several times. Only in the 16th century did the name of the city change to the present Tashkent (in Uzbehk, Toshkent). Tash means rock and kent is derived from the Persian word “kanda”, which means city. An important milestone in the city’s history was the rule of the Russian Empire, which started in 1865. Tashkent was declared the centre of the Turkestan Province. In 1899, a railway connection to the Caspian Sea was built, and several years later to the Russian City of Orenburg. During the former Soviet Union, heavy industrialisation commenced. On 24 June 1966, Tashkent was nearly levelled by a strong earthquake that registered a magnitude of 7 on the Richter Scale. Over 300,000 people lost their homes. The complete rebuilding of the city scarred its face, as it was renewed in line with the Soviet urban plan. In 1977, the underground was put into operation. In 1991, the independence of Uzbekistan was declared in Tashkent. At the beginning of independence, the city faced several terrorist attacks. Since it has gained independence, the city has radically changed its face – many buildings reminiscent of the Soviet era have undergone modern rebuilding, and an ultra-modern business centre has been built. Tashkent boasts many parks and fountains, and in 2007 the city was declared to be the cultural centre of the Islamic world.