DUSHANBE, TAJIKISTAN (10 April 2017) — Aviation officials and airline representatives from 11 member countries of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program met in Singapore on 6-7 April to discuss potential for enhanced regional air transport connectivity and cooperation. 

“The strategic location of CAREC countries means that the region can serve as a hub for aviation, both in terms of passenger and freight transport,” said Xiaohong Yang, Director of the Transport and Communications Division of ADB’s Central and West Asia Department. “The landlocked nature of many CAREC countries also means that air transport represents an essential mode in regional and global connectivity.”

The meeting discussed both benefits and challenges in creating more connected skies. Air transport is particularly suited to addressing market competitiveness for perishable and high-value goods as well as passenger services where time is paramount. Air transport facilitates development of agriculture, high-value consumer goods, tourism, and business travel.

Financial constraints on aviation infrastructure investment, unmet capacity development of the sector, and lack of a comprehensive regional agreement on open connectivity limit aviation’s role in the region’s economies. Climatic conditions in the region also present challenges to air safety.

The Tajikistan delegation comprised senior officials from the Ministry of Transport and Tajik Air national carrier.

This year, Tajikistan chairs the CAREC program, which promotes project-based cooperation in transport, energy, trade facilitation, trade policy, and other key sectors of mutual interest. The CAREC partnership comprises Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, the People’s Republic of China, Georgia, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan — and six multilateral institutions. ADB has served as the CAREC Secretariat since 2001. 

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 countries—48 from the region. 

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