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Tajikistan To Ban Russian Airlines As Aviation Dispute Continues

  • RFE/RL's Tajik Service

DUSHANBE -- Tajikistan has warned Russia that flights by two Russian airlines to Tajikistan will be barred as of April 6 unless Russia reverses a decision to bar flights to Moscow by Tajikistan's Somon Air.

Tajik Transport Ministry official Ilhom Tohirov told RFE/RL that the ministry had sent a note to the Russian Transport Ministry on April 4, saying that it would bar flights by Russia's Ural Airlines and UTair to Dushanbe and the city of Khujand if Russia's March 31 decision was not revoked.

The Russian Transport Ministry's March 31 decision to bar Somon Air flights to Moscow from Dushanbe and Khujand came into effect on April 3.

The Russian ministry said the ban was a response to Tajikistan's refusal to allow Russia's Yamal airline to fly to Dushanbe from the Zhukovsky airport outside Moscow.

In December, the Tajik government banned Yamal flights to Tajikistan out of Zhukovsky airport and Russia banned Somon Air flights from Tajikistan to some Russian regions.

The dispute centers around Dushanbe's claim that the Zhukovsky airport, which opened in May 2016, was Moscow's fourth international airport and had led to an increased number of flights from Moscow to Tajikistan.

Russia contends that Zhukovsky is not a Moscow airport because it is under the formal authority of Ramenskoye, a town outside the capital.

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