143,100 sq. km
Aeroflot Tajikistan CAD domestic routes map, early 1970s
Tajikistan lies in the heart of Central Asia, sharing borders with Kyrgyzstan, China, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan at the crossroads of the ancient Silk Road. Mountains account for 93% of its territory with the Tien Shan and Pamir ranges being the highest in the Soviet Union. The remaining 7% are valleys cut in the thickness of mountain ridges by the Syr Darya, Vakhsh, Kafirnigan, Pyandzh and Amu Darya rivers.
With a limited railway network and long winding roads in the mountains, travel and transport in Tajikistan relied heavily on the air services provided by Aeroflot's Tajik Directorate (Таджикское УГА). It is worth noting that regular air transport in Dushanbe appeared 2 years before road and 5 years before railway traffic.
- Wed 3 September - On this day, aviation in Tajikistan started with a Junkers 13 piloted by Rashidek Akhriev and Pyotr Komarov flying from Bukhara to Dushanbe. Soon the Ju-13 began flying this route 3 times a week.
- The regular route Tashkent - Samarkand - Termez - Dushanbe was opened.
- March - the Tajik Civil Aviation Fleet Directorate was formed.
- After the war, the Ju-52s and Li-2s appeared in the Tajik fleet and air traffic control services started. The route Stalinabad - Moscow was opened and operated by Li-2.
- The route Stalinabad - Sochi is started and flown by Ilyushin 12.
- For the first time a landing was performed on the ice of Lake Sarez by Vorobyov on an An-6 plane.
- Wed 2 March - the Il-18 is introduced on the non-stop Dushanbe - Moscow route, reducing the journey time between the cities to 5h30, compared to a 26 hours journey on Il-14 before.
- The Tajik Directorate has a route network of 38,415 km, including all-Union services. A new route Leninabad - Nukus - Shevchenko - Mineralnyye Vody is opened.
- Further expansion with new services came into operation between Dushanbe and Odessa, via Volgograd, Rostov and Krasnodar, and between Dushanbe and Minsk. By now, the Aeroflot Tajikistan Il-18s are flying to 17 destinations outside the republic. New routes are inaugurated from Leninabad to Novosibirsk, Orenburg and Ufa.
year - number of passengers
1949 - 59,600
1959 - 270,900
1969 - 1,070,000
1970 - 1,150,000 (target)
1975 - 2,000,000 (est.)
8 panels (16 pp), 100 x 220 mm, RU
6 panels (12 pp), 110 x 230 mm, EN
12 pp, 200 x 186 mm, SP*
*also in EN
Travel Around the USSR: Tajikistan
12 pp, 200 x 185 mm, GE
The cover of 'Soviet Union Illustrated Monthly' December 1956 edition shows Davlyat Khudododoyeva, member of the Khorog Dance Ensemble, on her way to a concert in Stalinabad (photo by V. Ruikovich). 'High above the Pamirs at an altitude of 16,500 feet, passengers have oxygen at their disposal.' The magazine covers an article 'In the Pamirs' with a picture of an Aeroflot Il-12 over the Pamir mountain range between Stalinabad and Khorog, seen from aboard a Lisunov 2. The air route was started as early as 1929. Before, it took a camel caravan a whole month to get there.
44 pp, 300 x 398 mm, EN
The Airways of Tajikistan
Pictured are the city of Garm, Khorog and the airport of Stalinabad
centerfold of Civil Aviation magazine 10/1961
On the Routes of Tajikistan
Passengers that land at the Stalinabad airport, will first of all pay attention to the parking of turboprop airplanes. Powerful comfortable airplanes make regular flights between Moscow and the capital of Tajikistan. Before, to cover this distance, it took almost a day, but now all the way can be done in 5 hours 30 minutes. High-speed airliners flown by crews of the Tajik separate air group, led by experienced pilots Tikhver, Sabirov, Semenkin.
Nearby is line of light single-engine aircraft Yak-12, An-2. This is "small aviation". Its role in the highland Tajikistan is very important. These planes carry out intra-republican transportation of passengers, mail, cargo, aviation-chemical works, sanitary flights. "Small Aviation" connects all regional centers and large settlements of the Republic by the air.
Flights here have their own characteristics. Routes pass through valleys and narrow gorges, over the mountain tops. Aerodromes, as a rule, are located at an altitude of two to three thousand meters.
Despite the difficulties, the pilots are working clearly and in an organized manner. There are a lot of young people in the division of light-engine aircraft. Love for his profession, a sense of high responsibility, distinguishes Komsomol pilots Pozdnyakov, Tymoshenko, Oprya, Mamaraimov. Ilyasov, Mirzaliyev, the technicians Anisimov, Avramov, Beginin and others.
Photo and text G. Smirnova.
On the photographs: 1. The aircraft is landing. 2. Young Tajiks see off air passengers. 3. The stewardess of one of the crews of the Stalinabad airport Anya Slukhaeva.
Душанбе - Dushanbe (Stalinabad 1929 - 1961)
- The first airfield was constructed, in the area where today the buildings of the Republican House of Press and Television "Safina" are located.
- November - 'Stalinabad' airport was opened and began operating flights to neighbouring cities, such as Tashkent and Almaty. Soon Moscow and other cities followed.
- The current 'Dushanbe' airport was opened, over the years it was expanded and updated.
Дусти - Dusti
Хорог - Khorog
Ленинабад - Khujand (Leninabad 1936 - 1991)
Khujand, formerly known as Leninabad (1936–1991), is the second-largest city of Tajikistan. It is one of the oldest cities in Central Asia, dating back about 2,500 years. Situated on the Syr Darya at the mouth of the Fergana Valley, it was a major city along the ancient Silk Road, mainly inhabited by ethnic Tajiks. It is close to the Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan borders.
Мургаб - Murghab
Aircraft Monuments - Авиапамятники
Khujand, N40.294783 E69.637943
The Il-18 with manufacturing date 28 February 1963 made its last flight on 7 May 1976 bringing its total flight hours to 34,998 and 16,097 cycles. It was used as ground rescue trainer and since 1979 standing on the right bank of the Syr Darya river. There it became a popular ice cream parlor and cafe. Over the years it was painted in different colours with advertising for drinks.
Over the Soviet Union's most difficult air route: Dushanbe - Khorog
The morning is calm and sunny. There's cool breeze blowing from the blue-veiled mountains. Aircraft, both large and small, take off one after another from Dushanbe airport.
We're flying to Horog today - the capital of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous region.
At 5 hours 07 minutes, Command Pilot Gaji Daudov, clears the runway and takes off in his light-winged An-2 for the Pamirs - the "roof of the world." This is a mail-carrier flight and there are parcels, newspapers and letters stacked neatly on board.
The plane rocks and shakes but the pilot is calm and composed. Obi-Garm and Habu-Rabat ranges melt into the distance and our plane glides with ease along the steep gorge. At moments it seems the cliffs are on the point of converging.
The landing strip of Kalai Humb airport flashes into view far below. As we approach it we see the silvery wings of a high-speed YAK-40 streaming over the mountains. It is flying from Horog to Dushanbe at an altitude of 6,600 metres.
The airport manager, M. Mananov, comes out to greet us. And so, of course, do the curious, omnipresent children. Their admiration for those who pilot planes is unbounded, although there's nothing unusual about a plane itself for them. They've seen quite a lot of them, unlike the children of their grandfathers' day.
Before the 1917 Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia, the' Pamirs suffered from a shortage, or to be more exact, a lack of roads. The road situation was worse there than in any other district of Tajikistan. Beasts of burden - camels, mostly - were the principal means of transport.
Here is a description of the roads in the Pamirs in the 15th of August, 1934, issue of the newspaper "Pravda of the East": “A caravan takes 38 to 40 days from Dushanbe to Horog, through mountains, dark ravines, over precipitous paths and from cliff to cliff across logs. Every minute the traveller is in, imminent and mortal danger... Suspension bridges over steep gorges, a lonely traveller on a mountain pass... He knows exactly when he left home, but never knows when—or if—he will ever return."
Local Communist Party organizations and government bodies contributed greatly to the building of the airport in Horog. It went into operation in October 1929 with the arrival of a flight from Dushanbe.
However, there were no regular passenger flights till August, 1932. Then, in 1935, an airway was charted from Horog to Murgab, where the airport is situated at an altitude of 3,600 metres above sea- level.
Heavy aircraft have been in operation on the air routes of the Pamirs since 1948.
Back in flight, the AN-2 threads its way across the labyrinth of ravines as it nears Vanch where we receive another warm welcome. The airport manager, T, Giesov, tells us about the people who run the airport. Vanch airport is one of the most efficient in the Tajikistan wing of Aeroflot.
It took us 2 hours 20 minutes to deliver the mail to three districts of the Republic. Horog at last. Since May, 1969, the Dushanbe-Horog line has been serviced by YAK-40's. The airport manager, A. Danilov, tells us that this plane is very popular with the mountaineers.
The chairman of the regional planning committee, A. Mavlonazarov, is even more enthusiastic. He says he feels better in a YAK-40 than he does on solid ground in a "Volga" car!
When heavy snowfalls cut the mountain villages and farms off from the rest of the world in 1969, helicopters came to their aid, air-lifting food and fodder for three months to Vanch, Kalai Humb and many other places.
Up to 180 passengers take off from Horog daily during the busy seasons at present. From 1966 to 1970 the total number of passengers to travel from the town was estimated at 51,812; mail, at 192.8 tons and other cargoes at 111.6 tons.
The Pamir airline is still considered to be one of the country's most difficult. Radio communications are impeded by the mountains. Besides, the weather is very changeable, passage over Haburabad range sometimes closing down in a matter of 3 to 5 minutes. Turbulence is commonplace, especially in the afternoon.
We returned to Dushanbe on a YAK-40. ...Several flights were made today on the Pamir line. YAK-40's and AN-2's carried 203 passengers, 2,121 kilogrammes of mail and 319 kilogrammes of cargo.
from 'a Day with Aeroflot', 1973