Uzbekistan may let foreign firm run struggling state airline

President Mirziyoyev has instructed cabinet members to draft a turnaround plan for Uzbekistan Airways and airports operator

Tashkent TV Tower Aerial Shot During Sunset in Uzbekistan taken in 2018
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Uzbekistan is considering letting a reputable foreign company manage Uzbekistan Airways, its flagship carrier which has been hit hard by the coronavirus lockdown, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev's office said on Monday.

Mr Mirziyoyev has discussed the sector's prospects with cabinet members, his office said in a statement, and instructed them to draft a turnaround plan for the state-owned airline and its sister company which manages airports.

"The issues of allowing new carriers to enter the market in order to boost competition, and letting a prestigious foreign company manage Uzbekistan Airways were discussed," it said without providing further details.

Uzbekistan Airways operates 16 Boeing and 11 Airbus planes and carried 3.8 million passengers last year. During the novel coronavirus pandemic, it said it was converting two passenger jets into freighters.