Uzbekistan Is All Set To Get Its First Private Commercial Airline
Uzbekistan is all set to get its first private commercial airline. The Uzbekistan government has been pushing for privatisation since 2021 with comprehensive roadmaps and sincere intent. As part of this privatisation agenda, the country has given up its monopoly in the aviation sector with the issuance of the Air Operator Certificate to a private player – Panorama Airways.
Interestingly, the veracity of the news had to be ascertained from the Instagram post of Panorama Airways. Before this post, there was some confusion regarding this development. Ultimately on November 18, Panorama Airways posted the image of its Air Operator Certificate on Instagram. In its post, the airways said that it was glad to inform the public that the civil aviation agency of Uzbekistan had awarded it with the Air Operator Certificate.
Panorama Airways was set up as part of the strategic privatisation program initiated by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in 2021. Prior to receiving the certificate, Panorama Airways had been selling air tickets.
The vast sky of Uzbekistan has been the domain of the state-owned Uzbekistan Airways. Humo Airways, which is a part of Uzbekistan Airways, also operates in Uzbekistan to cater to people preferring economical airfare.
The Big Privatisation Push
Uzbekistan first saw a major privatisation push when the authoritarian Karimov regime tried to sell state-owned assets. However, the push never saw success. The new government, helmed by Shavkat Mirziyoyev, has been trying to be meticulous enough to avoid repeating the mistakes of the previous government. The new government unveiled a thoroughly planned privatisation roadmap back in 2021.
The country has got a new securities regulator and specialised agencies that will oversee the selling of state-owned assets that can be sold.
Uzbekistan Airways itself is going to be privatised by the government. Although the President was very keen on selling a 51% stake in the airline by September 1, things seem to be moving slowly.
A whopping 620 state-owned assets are going to be privatised by the Uzbek government. Among them, there are 15 notable companies. Some of them are –
The National Bank JSC: It is owned by the Ministry of Finance. The government is aiming for a partial privatisation of the bank. Apart from that, the People’s Bank and the Agrobank will also see some divestment.
The Muruntau Gold Mine: Owned by the Navoi Mining and Metallurgy Kombinat, the mining company is going to be privatised as well. As per some reports, among all the assets that are going to be privatised, this is perhaps the most valuable one.
The export-import insurance company Uzbekinvest is on the list of entities to be privatised.
Apart from these three, assets like Qurilishmashlizing JSC, Uzagrosugurta JSC, Mikrokreditbank JSCB, Navoi MMC JSC, Almalyk MMC JSC etc., are going to be privatised as well.
Aziz Safiullin, who worked as the deputy chairman of Uzbekistan Airways, is said to be the Chief Executive of Panorama Airways. Aleksey Yaitskiy, the former head of the London office of Uzbekistan Airways, is working as an adviser at Panorama Airways. The combined experience of these two senior executives will surely help Panorama Airways to operate in a much more efficient fashion.
With the volatile geopolitical atmosphere, the Uzbekistan government needs an alternative source of cash to be able to function efficiently. Now that Russia – the country upon which the economic well-being of Uzbekistan depended is busy elsewhere, the success of Uzbekistan’s privatisation is crucial for Shavkat Mirziyoyev.