MAI supports Airline-Marketing team of Samarkand International Airport

Munich Airport International supports the Airline-Marketing team of Samarkand International Airport on its road to success

December 2023

The Opening of Samarkand International Airport (SKD) in 2022, marked a major milestone in Uzbek aviation history. The country’s most modern airport is at the same time the first one that was built and is managed under a private-public partnership. Having seen the project through its development phases, from its initial construction phase to opening, MAI´s experts were involved throughout, and are continuing to support the airport expanding its Airline-Marketing and traffic development outreach. After one year of commencing operations, the airport has achieved considerable success which is reflected in the significant increase of passenger numbers.   

Samarkand International Airport - Uzbekistan's most modern airport.  © Air Marakanda | From left to right: Florian Preuss (MAI), Dmitry Martynenko, Mukhammad Mukhammadiev, Ayub Sabirov
Smarkand Airport - a one-of-a-kind project in Uzbek aviation history © Air Marakanda

Uzbekistan is a country full of impressive history and magnificent cultural treasures, whose beauty remains to be discovered by visitors from all over the world. The historic Silk Road, that runs straight across the country and belongs to the UNESCO world heritage program, has attracted merchants, travelers, and adventurers for centuries. With the “Silk Road Samarkand” project, Uzbekistan is reviving its rich history in favor of further tourism development and economic growth. 

Samarkand – Uzbekistan’s first privatized airport

Samarkand International Airport, located only 20 minutes away from the “Silk Road Samarkand”, is a one of a kind project, holding significant importance in Uzbek aviation history. This project is Uzbekistan‘s first non-government developed airport operated by privately held Air Marakanda. It is a good example of an airport project using the private-public partnership model. Samarkand International Airport will boost connectivity within the country and region, increase tourist arrivals, and generate economic growth for the Uzbekistan economy. MAI is proud to work with and alongside Samarkand International Airport and its operator, Air Marakanda on this exciting journey.

As an airport management and consulting company, with strong records and credentials, MAI has provided previous support to Samarkand International Airport through the opening and thus contributed to the creation of a one-of-a-kind passenger experience (further details available herein). In the long term, the airport aims to offer more than 30 destinations and to increase the number of passengers to more than two million a year. 

A multi-dimensional approach to foster growth 

To achieve the set goals for route and passenger development, we have designed a framework for a highly efficient Airline-Marketing and traffic-development strategy that adopts industry best practices. This framework comprised of three phases that ensured a seamless transition from theory to actionable implementation activities. Among other things, the framework has provided the foundation for developing an efficient aviation strategy.  

How was such a framework implemented?

To start, MAI guided Air Marakanda Airline-Marketing team in developing the foundations for an efficient Airline-Marketing strategy and supported in the assessment of market opportunities and development of go-to-market-strategies. Considering best-practice examples of Munich Airport, we elaborated that the creation of an airport’s aviation strategy is highly complex and affects manifold other strategic areas of the airport, such as financial and commercial components. 

Air Marakanda's Airline Marketing Team visiting Munich Airport in December 2023 © Munich Airport International GmbH |  From left to right: Eduard Pogosov (Aeronautical Development Specialist), Mukhammad Mukhammadiev (Commercial Analyst), Ayub Sabirov (Head of Aeronautical Development), Dr. Lutz Weisser (Managing Director, MAI), Artyom Pak (Chief Commercial Officer), Florian Preuss (Consultant, MAI), Sunnatullo Ataev (Administrative Director), Savlat Rafikov (Head of Non-Aeronautical Development). 

Following our successful collaboration in the first two phases of the project, Air Marakanda’s Airline-Marketing team visited Munich Airport in December 2023 to discuss and benchmark Airline-Marketing strategies practiced at our 5-star Airport.

It was a great pleasure for us to welcome the team at our homebase in the heart of Bavaria. After an extensive tour of Munich Airport, including not only airport operations but also commercial areas, we had a very fruitful exchange on route and passenger development together with Munich Airport’s Airline-Marketing team. In several highly productive workshops, we shared insights and best practices on different topics such as aviation strategy, route development, sourcing and use of data as well as traffic forecast. 

One year after – Samarkand International Airport on its way to success

Since the commencement of operations one year ago, Air Marakanda’s Airline-Marketing Team have made some remarkable accomplishments which have contributed to the success of Samarkand International Airport. Pre-pandemic passenger volume was already exceeded by the end of 2022, increasing 39 percent from the previous year. Furthermore, Samarkand’s network grew by eleven destinations (compared to 2019), while new airlines to existing destinations have opened operations at the airport. Additional frequencies have also been added to seven destinations, which has significantly increased the range and quality of services.

Some of the biggest cases of success so far

  • Samarkand International Airport was recently served by Kuwait’s Jazeera Airways for the first time, which connects Uzbekistan with Kuwait City and the wider Gulf region;
  • Kazakh Airline, FlyArystan, has established twice-weekly flights from Samarkand to Almaty in Kazakhstan;
  • Azal Airlines opened a route to Baku in October 2022
  • Russian low-cost carrier Pobeda Airlines chose Samarkand as their first destination in Central Asia; and
  • Other renowned international airlines such as Turkish Airlines, Flydubai, Azerbaijan Airways and Wizz Air already operate flights in Samarkand.

With the upcoming launch of “Air Samarkand”, the airport will have its own homebase carrier in the future, providing the opportunity for further international route development. 

Air Samarkand (left) will be the new homebase carrier at Samarkand International Airport © Air Marakanda. 

Big congratulations to the team on achieving and exceeding such significant milestones. We are sure that the success of Air Marakanda will continue well into the future, and are proud to have worked with the team on this exciting engagement.

Head of Market

Sebastian Selmeier

Sebastian Selmeier

Business Development Manager - EU & CIS

Project Contact

Florian  Preuss

Florian  Preuss

  • Silk Road Samarkand, including spacious green areas, is a modern multiplex which is set to open in 2022 in eastern Samarkand.
    The new complex will house contemporary public spaces, parks, recreation and sports areas, ... 
  • Silk Road Samarkand, including world-class hotels, is a modern multiplex which is set to open in 2022 in eastern Samarkand.
    ... world-class hotels, specialized boutique hotels, authentic restaurants, cafes and bars, ...
  • Silk Road Samarkand, including an international congress hall, is a modern multiplex which is set to open in 2022 in eastern Samarkand.
    ... as well as an international congress hall and sites of cultural interest. © Silk Road Samarkand.

The Samarkand Silk Road project

Located just 20 minutes from the Samarkand Silk Road project, Samarkand International Airport will be the gateway to this iconic tourism project, estimated to cost more than $353 million.

Silk Road Samarkand is a modern multiplex which is set to open in 2022 in eastern Samarkand. The complex covers 260 hectares and includes world-class business and medical hotels, eateries, recreational facilities, park grounds, an ethnographic corner and a large congress hall for hosting international events.

For centuries, Samarkand was among the most renowned cities on the Great Silk Road, attracting merchants, travelers and adventurers from near and far. The Silk Road Samarkand project was developed by a team of designers, engineers and architects who desired to create a 21st-century landmark which would be functional and modern while retaining a connection with the city’s glorious past. The team is on target to achieve their goal, as the complex is designed to attract everyone from corporate and medical travelers to tourists interested in Turkic and Islamic culture.

This project is instrumental to the economic development of Uzbekistan. It is estimated that 90% of the visitor to Silk Road, will travel through Samarkand Airport. This Is why Air Marakanda have sought the services of MAI to ensure visitors to Silk Road experience the best of Samarkand while travelling through the airport.