Russia Bans Some Flights By Tajik Airline As Dispute Persists

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DUSHANBE -- A flight by Tajikistan's Somon Air to Moscow has been suspended after Russia announced it was barring the airline from flying to the Russian capital.

The Russian Transport Ministry said on March 31 that as of April 3, Somon Air would no longer be permitted to conduct its four weekly flights from Dushanbe to Moscow and three weekly flights from the northern city of Khujand to Moscow.

The Russian ministry said the ban was response to Tajikistan's refusal to allow Russian airline Yamal 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 focuses on Dushanbe's claim that 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 as it is under the formal authority of Ramenskoye, a town outside the capital.

In January, Tajik and Russian authorities said they had reached an agreement aimed at resolving the dispute.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.