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Uzbekistan Triples Air Cargo Through Navoi

19 November 2010

Uzbekistan reports a more than 80 percent increase in all air cargo compared to last year, and triple the freight sent through Navoi International Airport in 2009, the state news site gazeta.uz reported.

Uzbek airlines have made slightly less flights this year than last year, but have increased their loads of passengers and freight. Flights for the period of January-September, 2009 deceased 1.1 percent compared to the same period in 2009, but passengers increased from an average of 101 to 112 people per flight. In 2009, a total of 1.8 million passengers flew on 24,100 flights, gazeta.uz reported.

For the same period, Uzbekistan Airways carried 83.2 percent more freight, mainly due to cargo going through the Navoi International Airport. According to the Uzbek Ministry of Economics and the State Statistics Committee, through Navoi alone, 674 cargo flights with 18,500 tons of freight were flown in this period in 2009 -- triple the amount for 2008.

The Uzbek government does not say where the cargo was bound in the official report, but last year President Islam Karimov announced that the Navoi International Airport was being used to deliver non-lethal freight to NATO troops in Afghanistan on Airbus 300-600s leased from South Korea, EurasiaNet reported.

So even before the U.S. signed an agreement with Uzbekistan to increase security cooperation and boost NDN deliveries, Uzbekistan was posting a massive increase in its air cargo.

South Korea's provision of the planes enabled a face-saving strategy for the resumption of US-Uzbek strategic cooperation last year, EurasiaNet reported. U.S. diplomats meanwhile worked to repair relations broken after the U.S. was forced to withdraw from its base in Khanabad following protests about the 2005 Andijan massacre.

This article originally appeared at EurasiaNet here.