The government of Uzbekistan has inked a deal with the World Bank which would see the global development financing institution help the central Asian country modernise its flag carrier, airports, and the general institutional, financial, and organisational framework of civil aviation.

"The aviation sector is one of the highest priorities for the Government of Uzbekistan, given its potential role to stimulate economic growth and unlock the country’s tourism potential. With visa restrictions lifted for many countries, the hospitality industry is expected to expand. The country is also opening to trade and commerce. However, currently, air transport supply is not able to cope with this growing demand due to lack of a competitive environment," World Bank Country Manager for Uzbekistan Hideki Mori said.

The World Bank will be involved both in an advisory role and as a financier. The support would focus on the country's underdeveloped airports, which are major bottlenecks today both in terms of a poor infrastructure and high costs.

"Capacity constraints and high airport infrastructure costs make flying to and from Uzbekistan very expensive for passengers and do not facilitate the entry of foreign air carriers. Since 2010, Uzbekistan’s air transport sector has grown by only 2% per year," the World Bank underlined.

The World Bank also stressed it would be working in close cooperation with the flag carrier, Uzbekistan Airways (HY, Tashkent Islam Karimov). The international institution would seek to assist the airline with an internal reorganisation and a general updating of its business.

All support will be provided in a form of reimbursable grants, in practice long-term, low-interest loans for a specific goal.