Ashgabat International Airport (IATA: ASB, ICAO: UTAA) is the biggest airport in Turkmenistan and the main air gates of this country. Its located within the administrative border of Ashgabat not far from the city. The recently opened airport terminal underwent a comprehensive redesign and reconstruction, completing the process on 17 September 2016. As part of the project, the south runway was relocated and extended to run parallel to the north runway.
The airport is conveniently situated near the M37 highway and is connected to it via a four-lane motorway. For travelers convenience, the airport provides terminal parking, as well as short-term and long-term parking options. Efficient bus transportation is available from the airport to Ashgabat city, with regular service provided by bus lines 1, 18, 22, and 58. Additionally, Awtomobil Ulag Hyzmaty company offers its taxi services at Ashgabat Airport.
The civil aviation of Turkmenistan traces its roots back to 1927 when air communications commenced between Chardzhou and Tashauz, with flights passing through the settlements of Turtkul and Novo-Urgench (both located in the Uzbek SSR). To operate this route, the Turkmen SSR acquired four-passenger Junkers F.13 aircraft from Germany and Soviet-made Kalinin K-4 aircraft. A total of eight aircraft were dedicated to this airline.
Subsequently, in 1932, newer Soviet aircraft were procured for passenger transportation. The Kalinin K-5 aircraft had seating for six passengers, while the Tupolev ANT-9 aircraft could accommodate twelve. This fleet expansion led to the establishment of an air division at Chardzhou Airport in 1932, specifically catering to the Chardzhou-Tashauz route without any intermediate stops. During the Soviet era, the airport solely served flights within the USSR. Presently, in addition to local airline fleets, the airport accommodates planes from various foreign airlines worldwide, facilitating both passenger and cargo flights.
In Soviet times, the Ashgabat airport was used only for domestic flights.
After Soviet Union
In 1994, the first modern airport terminal was inaugurated with a capacity to accommodate 1,600 passengers per hour. This development aligned with Saparmurat Niyazov’s vision of transforming Turkmenistan into “the new Kuwait,” prompting him to strive for the construction of a distinctive airport. However, due to a zealous approach, an oversight occurred as the control tower was built on the incorrect side of the runway. Consequently, the striking new terminal obstructed the view of air traffic controllers who were responsible for guiding pilots. Despite warnings from the builders, Niyazov insisted that the unconventional arrangement was aesthetically superior.
Eventually, in 2013, the decision was made to dismantle the building, thereby rectifying the issue caused by its original placement.
In 2012, the Turkmen government initiated an international tender for the reconstruction of Ashgabat Airport, which was to be named “Oguz Han.” Among the participants, Polimeks, a Turkish construction company with a history of involvement in Turkmenistan since the late 1990s, emerged as the winner. The grand opening of the new airport took place on 17 September 2016, presided over by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow. The ambitious project carried a price tag of $2.3 billion (€1.7 billion) and introduced a highly distinctive terminal design in the shape of a falcon.
The newly constructed airport boasts a capacity to handle 14 million passengers annually, accommodating up to 1,600 passengers per hour. Encompassing an expansive area of 350,000 square meters, it encompasses several essential facilities. These include a passenger terminal, VIP terminal, cargo terminal with a capacity to process 200,000 tonnes of freight per year, a state-of-the-art air traffic control tower (ATCT), a maintenance hangar capable of accommodating three narrow-body aircraft, new fueling stations, catering services, fire brigade facilities, flight simulation centers, repair and maintenance buildings, a parking area capable of accommodating 3,000 cars, a civil aviation school, and a medical center.
Furthermore, the airport features a second runway measuring 3,800 meters in length, specifically designed to accommodate wide-body, double-deck jet airliners such as the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-8.
The completion of this monumental project has positioned Ashgabat’s Oguz Han Airport as a significant and modern aviation hub, equipped with cutting-edge facilities to meet the demands of international air travel.
Ashgabat Airport Facilities
The airport has a pair of artificial runways, each equipped with Category II advanced instrument landing systems (ILS) and platforms, ensuring they are capable of handling aircraft of all sizes and types. All airport services operate around the clock and seven days a week to meet the needs of passengers.
Available facilities at the airport include: passenger waiting rooms, immigration and customs areas, border control points, 24-hour information desk, exclusive VIP and CIP lounges, business club, ticket office serving Turkmenistan Airlines, various retail stores, bars, fast food establishments , currency exchange offices, a modern baggage handling conveyor system, international telephone service, a dedicated mother and child room, as well as office space for Star Alliance and Turkish Airlines.
Ashgabat International Airport presents a special exclusive Business Lounge service for business class passengers. It offers a comfortable space where passengers can experience local hospitality and feel comfortable while waiting for their flight while enjoying the peace and quiet while avoiding the hustle and bustle of the common waiting area. Business class passengers of the Ashgabat airport go through all pre-flight formalities in the shortest possible time with maximum comfort.
Guests of the Business Lounge are provided with:
- Individual check-in desk in the terminal building;
- Fast Track service (expedited check-in for a flight, customs and passport control without queues);
- Escort and accommodation in a comfortable waiting room, where passengers will be offered various drinks (soft drinks, tea, coffee);
- Buffet, fresh fruit, dessert;
- Newspapers and magazines, free Wi-Fi, digital TV;
- Conference room services: telephone, fax, printer, copier and scanner; Suites (soft and comfortable sofas and TV);
- Mother and child room; prayer rooms;
- Possibility to take a shower;
- Billiards: Escort to the gate;
- Assistance on all emerging issues (timely informing about the departure of flights, calling a medical worker, etc.).
- Ashgabat-Saint Petersburg
Passenger: China Southern Airlines, Flydubai, S7 Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Turkmenistan Airlines
Cargo: Cargolux, Turkmenistan Airlines Cargo