DUSHANBE, March 30, 2011, Asia-Plus -- Tajik national air carrier, Tajik Air, has reportedly frozen talks with China''s Xi''an Aircraft Industrial Corporation, which produces  Xian MA60s.

Azizkhon Nabiyev, head of the civil aviation department within the Ministry of Transport (MoT), says specialists from Tajik Air consider that the Xian MA60 (Modern Ark 60) is not fit for mountain conditions of Tajikistan and purchase of this aircraft type is not expedient under the current financial situation of Tajik Air.  “The issue, however still remains open and Tajik Air is continuing to study the possibility of purchasing the Xian MA60s,” Tajik official noted.

According to him, two Xian MA60s were expected to arrive in Tajikistan this month to replace the Soviet-era An-24, An-26 and Yak-40 in Tajikistan.  A final agreement on purchase of two MA60s was concluded last autumn.

We will recall that Tajik Air planned to use the Xian MA60 to serve domestic routes as well as operate flights from Dushanbe to Tehran (Iran), Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan), Almaty (Kazakhstan) and serve other regional destinations.

The Xian MA60 (Modern Ark 60) is a turboprop-powered airliner made by China''s Xi''an Aircraft Industrial Corporation under the China Aviation Industry Corporation I (AVIC I).

The airplane received its type certificate from the Civil Aviation Administration of China in June 2000.  The first aircraft was delivered to Sichuan Airlines in August 2000.  As of October 2006, XAC has received over 90 MA60 orders.  The factory had delivered 23 MA60s by the end of 2006, and expects to deliver an additional 165 units by the end of 2016.

Tajik Air (Tajikistan Airlines) is the national airline of Tajikistan.  It is based in Dushanbe International Airport, and retains a secondary focus point at Khujand International Airport.  The company now serves 21 destinations.

The Tajik Air fleet now includes 36 aircraft; 17 of them have already outlived their service life and only 19 are operational: 4 Tu-154s; 2 Yak-40s, 2 An-28s; 4 An-26s, 2 Boeing 737-500s, 1 Boeing 7373-200; and three helicopters.