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Many Stranded As Flights From Tajikistan To Russia Delayed

Nordwind Airlines is based in Moscow

DUSHANBE -- Hundreds of travelers have been stranded for several days at airports in Tajikistan's two largest cities after flights to Russia on the Nordwind airline were put on hold.

Miroj Azizov, a representative for the airline in the Central Asian nation, told RFE/RL on May 16 that the Tajik State Agency of Civil Aviation had withdrawn the Moscow-based company's license to carry out flights on large planes to and from international airports in Dushanbe, the capital, and the country's second-largest city, Khujand.

Officials from the aviation regulator were not available for immediate comment.

Azizov told RFE/RL that the air company had complied with all regulations and requests by the State Agency of Civil Aviation, including a request to lower prices.

Several clients of the company complained to RFE/RL that they had spent many days at the airport waiting for their flights without decent food or access to proper facilities.

About 1 million labor migrants from Tajikistan permanently reside in Russia and regularly visit their homeland.

As a consequence of flights between Tajikistan and Russia being restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of migrant workers have been unable to return to Russia for work.

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The restrictions were lifted on April 1, sparking a rush to return to Russia to resume employment.

The restrictions have also had a major impact on Tajik students enrolled at Russian universities.

Nordwind flies to 75 cities in 17 countries. Many of its routes are to popular Russian holiday destinations around the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean.