Turkmenistan opens $2.3bn airport in Ashgabat

By bne IntelliNews September 19, 2016

Turkmenistan has launched a new international airport in the capital city of Ashgabat, the government said in a statement on September 17.

During the opening ceremony, the Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov noted the airport’s significance for the country’s transit potential. However, the main purpose of the new airport is tied to the country’s preparations to promote itself during the Asian Olympic Games, which will be held in Ashgabat in 2017. The games and the new airport can be seen as one of the small steps towards the president’s goal to gradually open up the isolated Central Asian country to the world.

Few foreigners get to visit the country because of strict visa regulations. Only 105,000 tourists visited the country in 2015, government figures show.

The airport has an annual capacity to process 14mn passengers, the government said. Construction costs amounted to $2.3bn, according to a report by BBC

The new airport, designed to replicate the shape of a soaring falcon, will be a great fit to the capital city which already boasts several other unique structures, including a publishing house in shape of an otheropen book. The city also has two giant golden statues of both Berdymukhamedov and his late predecessor Saparmyrat Niyazov.

Overall, Berdimuhamedov has been slightly more open than his predecessor, who preferred to stick to strict authoritarianism and isolationism until his death in 2006. According to opposition-run news website chrono-tm.org, Berdimuhamedov has reversed several of Niyazov’s policies by restoring pensions for more than 100,000 elderly citizens, lifting a ban on graduate programmes and supporting the attendance of foreign universities by Turkmen youth.

Related Articles

Unidentified gunmen kill five TAPI project-affiliated workers in Afghanistan

Unidentified gunmen killed five mine clearance workers affiliated with the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project on May 21, according to Afghan officials. One worker was ... more

ADB sees general Central Asia slowdown in 2018

The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB’s) Asian Development Outlook anticipates a general slowdown across the Central Asian region, with the exceptions of Uzbekistan, where the development bank ... more

Turkmenistan places public sector workers on unpaid leave amid economic crisis

Stretched government finances have prompted Turkmen public sector agencies and organisations to cut their workforces and send remaining employees on unpaid leave, the Chronicles of ... more