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Friday, April 20, 2018

Tajikistan will have to agree to the terms of flights from Russia

Moscow is threatening to stop flights to Tajikistan if Dushanbe is not going to stop putting spokes in the wheels of Russian air carriers. The former Soviet Republic once again is making the same ridiculous demands that had been rejected a month ago, and Russian airlines are suffering heavy losses. But the situation is that Tajikistan will have to go back on their word.

Russia can stop flights to Tajikistan from December 22, if Dushanbe will abandon their commitments, reported the Ministry of transport. This is a response to the failure of the Tajik aviation authorities allow the flight of Russian airline “Yamal” EN route Hudzhand, Tajikistan – Zhukovskiy, citing a lack of parity, explained in the Department. They believe such a ban is illegal.

“The political and business elite of Tajikistan is closely affiliated. And actions Dushanbe due to the desire to keep the share of private companies in the airline industry”

Airline “Yamal” was submitted to the Department of civil aviation of Tajikistan’s application to perform flights Zhukovsky – Dushanbe and Zhukovsky – Khujand. The departure of the first flight of Zhukovsky in Dushanbe was scheduled for Tuesday, December 20, at 08.00 GMT. More than 100 passengers passed the customs and passport control were in the waiting room, the aircraft was ready, but the flight has not departed. The aeronautical authorities of Tajikistan have not given permission for the flight.

The Ministry of transport of Tajikistan has justified the decision by saying that the procedure of approval of documents within 45 days, and it’s only 20. And the airline “Yamal” without waiting for official authorization, the unauthorized started selling tickets. Before the expiration of permission remained for another 25 days, and some issues are still not resolved, speak in Dushanbe. That is, the permission to fly had to give in mid-January, after the “fat” for carriers the Christmas holidays.

The Ministry of transport of Russia “protested another attempt of revision of existing agreements and urged Tajik colleagues to strictly follow the commitments assumed”.

Conflicts with Tajikistan in the field of air traffic occur frequently. The last time the conflict broke out a month ago. Then the aviation authorities of Tajikistan also refused to accept flights of Russian companies from the airport Zhukovsky. And Moscow also had to threaten the suspension of air traffic. The day before the date of suspension on 7 November, a meeting was held between the Ministry and the Agency of Tajikistan, where in the Protocol it was stated that the Tajik side accepts the appointment of the Russian airlines from Zhukovsky on the notes the foreign Ministry. However, it turns out that Dushanbe its promise does not.

Recall that while Moscow considered a ban on Russian airlines flying from Zhukovsky as a violation of Dushanbe on the sovereignty of the Russian government. The position of Tajikistan was as follows: the new airport in Zhukovsky relates to the Moscow aviation hub (UIA), and the flights from there are regulated by the intergovernmental agreement on the flights. Should be parity of conditions for performing flights between the countries, i.e. the same number of airlines and flights on both sides. Dushanbe demanded a revision of the intergovernmental agreement.

However, the Russian Ministry of transport has put in place a neighbor. Zhukovsky legally belongs to the suburbs, so flights from it are irrelevant to the intergovernmental agreement on flights from MAU to review anything and not necessary. In other words, Tajikistan arbitrarily determined the status of the new airport and took him to the category, which is more beneficial to the carriers.

A new conflict is seen in the same vein, because Dushanbe again requires a certain parity.

“Lock flight “Yamal” is a flagrant violation of the agreements, achieved on 7 November and the earlier part of a bilateral document. Moreover, the violation of the rougher that the Ministry of transport of Tajikistan is in no way hides extremely selfish intentions in relation to the achievement of a “parity” in the number of flights by Russian and Tajik airlines”, – analyst IFC Markets Dmitry Lukashov. According to Dushanbe, the number of flights of “Ural airlines” and “Yamal” shall not exceed the number of flights of Somon Air and Tajik Air. But this applies only to the Moscow aviation hub, while the departures from the airport Zhukovsky do not have to do with this.

Of course, protectionism in relation to domestic airlines – a normal practice in the world of aviation. However, in this situation of Tajikistan crossing the line.

“This situation, unfortunately, is the usual political practice in Tajikistan, but does not meet the standards of the business community. The situation is complicated by the fact that the political and business elite of Tajikistan is closely affiliated. And actions Dushanbe due to the desire to keep the share of private companies in the airline industry between the two countries”, – says the managing partner Kirikov Group Daniil Kirikov.

Tajik airlines also have the right to carry out two flights from Zhukovskiy, but in reality they do not exercise. Perhaps this is the real reason for the opposition to Dushanbe. “In direct competition “Yamal” and “Ural airlines” will win, having a strong brand and high quality of service. If this happens, the “Tajik air” will be unprofitable”, – says Alexei Antonov from “ALOR Broker”.

In addition, the increased number of flights means expansion of the offer and the impossibility too to inflate the prices of flights that I love to do Tajikistani carriers.

And all this is done in less than 10 days before the New year when the passenger traffic between the two countries is on the peak values. This means direct losses for Russian carriers and airports, not to mention the troubles for passengers. The loss of the Russian airlines from idle in Zhukovsky can be estimated at about 1 million rubles a day, said Alexei Antonov from “ALOR Broker”.

“The situation is scandalous and, in my opinion, to set limits on flights between the countries from the Russian side should not at the end of January, when the demand for tickets will return to the annual standards and promptly. Only if Somon Air and Tajik Air will start to lose profit on a par with the “Yamal”, the situation will move forward,” says Dmitry Lukashov.

However, most likely, the country will find a compromise. “I believe the parties back to the negotiating table and the issue will be resolved from the point of view of earnings of both companies that it was more or less equal, and will also discuss the volume of passenger traffic and the Outlook of this volume. The conflict will likely be resolved peacefully, as the Russian side is clearly stronger and Tajikistan will have to show flexibility in the negotiations. The proximity of the Christmas holidays and growing in this regard, the passenger will make your parties a little more accommodating,” says Antonov.

“Most likely, this misunderstanding will be resolved in a short time. The more that Tajikistan has made it clear that he is ready to consider favourably the question of giving permission to perform the airline “Yamal” flights to Dushanbe”, – agrees Sergey Melnikov of Global FX.


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