Uzbek start-up carrier Air Samarkand has named a new chief executive, just ahead of commencing its scheduled flight programme.

The carrier has appointed Zafar Butaev to the top post, succeeding Anton Khodiayan who is returning to the leadership of airport management company Air Marakanda.

Butaev is a tourism and hospitality entrepreneur and chief of the multi-purpose resort Silk Road Samarkand.

Khodiayan will continue to serve as an advisor to the new airline.

Air Samarkand with CEO-c-Air Samarkand

Source: Air Samarkand

Air Samarkand will be led by tourism entrepreneur Zafar Butaev (inset)

Air Samarkand is set to begin scheduled twice-weekly Airbus A321neo services from Samarkand to Istanbul’s main airport on 21 March.

The aircraft is configured with 221 seats in an all-economy cabin.

It has already been operating charter flights after securing its air operator’s certificate at the end of last year. The airline’s first flight was also to Istanbul, flying an A330 to the city’s secondary Sabiha Gokcen airport.

Air Samarkand says Istanbul offers “extensive onward travel opportunities” and it aims to offer “further flight options” on the route in the near future.