Dubai-based low-cost airline flydubai today (September 21) celebrated the launch of its inaugural service to Samarkand, one of the oldest cities in Uzbekistan, located in Central Asia.
Announcing the debut launch, flydubai said it will operate a twice-weekly service from Dubai International (DXB) to Samarkand International Airport (SKD), thus becoming the first UAE carrier to operate direct flights to the Uzbek city.
With the start of flights to Samarkand, flydubai grows its network in Central Asia to seven points served by a fleet of 68 Boeing 737 aircraft, providing passengers from the UAE and the GCC with more options for travel.
The inaugural flight was greeted with traditional water cannon salute on arrival at SKD. Senior local officials including Gairat Nematov, General Director at Air Marakanda welcomed the delegation led by Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer at flydubai.
Speaking at the press conference, Al Ghaith said: "flydubai is committed to opening up underserved markets and strengthening the links from Dubai and the UAE with the region. We are excited to see our network in Uzbekistan grow with the launch of flights to Samarkand."
"Since 2019 when we first started operations to Uzbekistan, we have seen sustainable demand and we are confident that the launch of our second destination will provide our passengers with more reliable and convenient options for travel," he added.
The Dubai budget carrier offers flights to seven destinations in Central Asia including Almaty and Astana in Kazakhstan, Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan, Dushanbe in Tajikistan, as well as Namangan, Samarkand and Tashkent in Uzbekistan.
Gairat Nematov, the general director of the airport management company Air Marakanda said: “The opening of this new route will have a positive impact on the entire Samarkand region. Cooperating with our valued partners at flydubai, we have established a direct link between Samarkand International Airport and one of the biggest and most vibrant economic hubs in the world."
"Air Marakanda is very glad to welcome the new airline and we are committed to provide passengers to and from Dubai with a best-in-class airport experience," he added.
On September 24, flydubai is set to twice-weekly service to Namangan, growing its network in the market to three destinations served with a total of 10 weekly flights.
Flights to Samarkand International Airport (SKD) will operate from Terminal 2, Dubai International (DXB) on Tuesdays and Fridays, while flights to Namangan International Airport (NMA) will operate on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
As inaugural offer, the return business class fares from DXB to SKD start at AED8,000 onwards and Economy Class Lite fares start from AED1,800, while the return economy class fares from DXB to NMA start from AED1,800 and return economy class fares from NMA to DXB start from $480.
Commenting on the start of operations, Jeyhun Efendi, Senior VP, Commercial Operations and E-commerce at flydubai, said: "With Namangan and Samarkand joining our network in Central Asia, we see our operations grow to seven points in four countries."
"Central Asia is an important market for flydubai and we continue to look for more opportunities to connect these markets with direct airlinks to Dubai’s aviation hub, making travel more accessible on the flydubai network and beyond," he added.-TradeArabia News Service