Ashgabat International Airport
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Ashgabat International Airport
Aşgabat halkara howa menzili
|Owner||Government of Turkmenistan|
|Elevation AMSL||692 ft / 211 m|
Ashgabat International Airport (Turkmen: Aşgabat halkara howa menzili; (IATA: ASB, ICAO: UTAA)), formerly known as Saparmyrat Türkmenbaşy International Airport, is one of five international airports in Turkmenistan. It is located approximately 10 km (6 mi) northwest of the capital Ashgabat (Ashkhabad). The old airport, with its air traffic control tower and a 3,700-metre-long (12,000 ft) precision approach runway (12L-30R), opened in 1994 and was named after the country's first president, Saparmyrat Niyazov. The new airport opened in 2016 after being completely redesigned and rebuilt.
The beginning of Turkmen civil aviation can be considered 1927, at that time air communications began to work between Chardzhou and Tashauz, flying through the settlements of Turtkul and Novo-Urgench (both Uzbek SSR). For this flight, aircraft were used for Junkers F.13 passengers for four people who were purchased in Germany, as well as Soviet passenger Kalinin K-4 aircraft. 8 aircraft served this airline. Later, in 1932, Soviet aircraft were purchased for the transport of passengers. Kalinin K-5 aircraft had six seats, as well as Tupolev ANT-9 aircraft, which had twelve seats. With the replenishment of the air fleet of Turkmen SSR, in 1932, an air division was formed at Chardzhou Airport that directly served the Chardzhou-Tashauz route, without transfers to other settlements.
The airport terminal opened in 1994 and it had a capacity of 1,600 passengers per hour. In Soviet times, the airport was used exclusively for domestic flights.
As part of Saparmurat Niyazov's aspiration to transform Turkmenistan into 'the new Kuwait', he sought to construct a distinctive airport. This zeal resulted in the control tower being constructed on the wrong side of the runway. The 'gaudy new terminal' now blocked the view of air traffic controllers as they guided pilots. The builders warned him of this, however, he responded that, "It looks better this way."
The building was dismantled in 2013.
New building (2016)
The Turkmen government opened an international tender in 2012 for the construction of a new international airport in Ashgabat, to be named "Oguz Han". Polimeks, a Turkish construction company active in Turkmenistan since the late-1990s, was declared as the winner of the tender. The new airport was opened on 17 September 2016 by the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow. The project costed $2.3 billion (€1.7 billion) and featured a highly unusual terminal design featuring a Turkmen bird. The new airport is able to serve 14 million passengers per year. It has the capacity to handle 1,600 passengers per hour. The airport has a closed-area of 350,000 m2 and includes a passenger terminal, VIP terminal, cargo terminal with a capacity to handle 200,000 tonnes of freight per year, a new air traffic control tower (ATCT), a maintenance hangar for three narrow-body aircraft, new fuelling stations, catering, fire brigade, flight simulation, repair and maintenance buildings, parking space for 3.000 cars, a civil aviation school as well as a medical center. The airport has also a new 3,800m long runway to serve wide-body, double-deck jet airliners such as the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-8.
There are two artificial runways, equipped with the second category ILS and platform, enabling them to take aircraft of all types. All services of the airport work around the clock. The airport includes passenger waiting rooms, service passport, customs, border control, a 24-hour reference service, VIP and CIP rooms, a business club, a ticket office (Turkmenistan Airlines), shops, bars, fast-food outlets, currency exchange, a new baggage handling conveyor system, international telephone, a mother and child room and the offices of the airlines (Star Alliance and Turkish Airlines).
On 26 March 2014, a small passenger terminal was opened during a ceremony attended by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow. The terminal is located on the site of a pre-existing Turkmen SSR airport (after the bus station) down the street No.2013 (Cosmonaut Blvd). For the period of construction of the main passenger terminal the temporary terminal took the service of passengers departing and arriving to Ashgabat. After commissioning of the main terminal, the terminal is used for charter flights.
Airlines and destinations
In Soviet times, the airport was used exclusively for servicing flights within the USSR. Currently, in addition to the aircraft of the local airline fleet, the airport serves the planes of several foreign airlines of the world, performing both passenger and cargo flights.
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- List of the busiest airports in the former USSR
- List of airports in Turkmenistan
- Transportation in Turkmenistan
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