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Next steps taken for new Tashkent airport terminal

A planned project to construct a fourth passenger terminal for Uzbekistan's Tashkent International Airport has taken a significant step forward with the announcement that a $4 million feasibility study of construction is to be developed and carried out. This is both a big step forward for the scheme and a sign of the increasing foreign investment coming to Central Asia's construction industry.

The project is being masterminded by the Uzbek government, but it looks likely that South Korea will have a major hand in it. The agreement for the feasibility study will be signed by both the government of Uzbekistan and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), and is far from the only case of East Asian involvement in the region.



The terminal, which has been planned by Uzbekistan Airways for some time, is scheduled to be constructed at some point between 2015 and 2019. It is expected to have a capacity of 1,500 passengers per hour, making it Tashkent International Airport's largest terminal, and the estimated cost is almost $300 million.

Tashkent International currently has three terminals, although only two service general passengers. Terminal-1 is only used for VIPs and for state visits, while Terminal-2 and Terminal-3 have capacities of 1,300 and 400 passengers per hour, respectively. This means that the construction of Terminal-4 will more than double the airport's capacity for overseas passengers, as Terminal-3 is only used for local flights.

While Uzbekistan Airways is expected to take on a significant amount of this cost, some of the financing will come from overseas firms. It is not yet known how much, or who will supply the money, but the presence of KOICA suggests it will come from South Korea.


Increased Asian investment in Uzbekistan

The potential investment from South Korea is not a surprise, as East Asian countries have been paying more and more attention to Central Asia over the last few years. This focus has been incredibly beneficial, as it has brought with it improved trade and increased investment in major construction and infrastructure projects.

South Korea has already had a lot of interest in the Uzbek construction market. Earlier this year, it announced it would be helping to fund $7.7 billion worth of projects in the Central Asian nation over the next five years.

For example, at the turn of the century the value of combined Chinese investments in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan stood at around $1 billion. Ten years later it reached $30 billion, and it now stands at over $50 billion. Projects include a $455 million railway tunnel in Uzbekistan.

Japan is also reportedly planning to take more of an interest in investing in Central Asia, particularly in Uzbekistan. The nation's prime minister Shinzo Abe is planning a trip to the region in October, marking the first time a Japanese head of state has come to Central Asia since 2006.

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