The First Airline
The history of civil aircraft of Turkmenistan originates from 1927 when the first airline, which has connected Chardzhou with Tashauz through Tourtkul and Novo-Urgench was opened. On this airline, the Chardzhou aviation enterprise used the four-seat passenger airplanes “Junkers” JU-13 purchased in Germany, and airplanes K-4 of Soviet production. In total 8 airplanes have been engaged. In 1932, the civil air fleet of Turkmenistan has been replenished with new Soviet passenger airplanes. These were six-seat К-5 and twelve-seat ANT-9. On their base in the same 1932, the air division which began to serve the airline Chardzhou-Tashauz directly, without intermediate airdromes was created in the Chardzhou airport.
The First Airport
The first airport in Ashgabat has been constructed in 1932, and in the end of 1934 there were formed two air divisions: one has been completed with airplanes Po-2 (for application in agriculture), and another one consisted of airplanes TB-3 (for transportation of cargoes). In particular, four-seat airplanes TB-3 flied to desert Kara Kum and served sulfuric mines Darvaza, delivering to workers food, water, equipment and taking out the lump sulphur. The airplane T-2 applied for the first time in Turkmenistan, transported for one flight to five tons of cargo. By the volume of freight traffic the division of these planes in 1938 has won the first place among divisions of civil aviation – both in the USSR, and in the whole world. In 1935, there was opened the new airline Ashkhabad-Tashauz connecting settlements Dargan-Ata, Sulfuric Factory, Darvaza, Leninsk, Kunya-Urgench, Tashauz. In December 1935 in Turkmenistan, there was organized the Authority of civil air fleet which extent of air-lines has made over 2 thousand kilometers. At the same time, in Tashauz and Krasnovodsk the light airplanes Po-2 appeared making flights in the most remote areas and settlements of the republic. In 1944, the aircraft depot of Turkmenistan has been replenished with first airplanes Li-2 by which the passengers and mail were transported from Ashgabat to Moscow through Baku, Astrakhan and Volgograd.
Since 1946 in air-lines of the USSR and Turkmenistan (as the republic entering then in the structure of the USSR) the new Soviet airplanes Il-12, Il-14, An-2, Як-12 started to be used . In September 1956, the first regular flights were made by the first-born jet civil aircraft – passenger airplane Tu-104, and then on republic airlines there were planes Tu-114, Il-18, An-24. The powerful airliners have allowed to connect Turkmenistan by air-lines with the largest administrative and cultural centers of the USSR, capitals of union republics, resorts and other cities. From the beginning of 50th years, in the national economy of the republic there were widely applied helicopters. The aircraft is used in agriculture at processing of gardens and vineyards and defoliation of cotton. By the end of 60th years the civil aviation in Turkmenistan gets the crucial importance in transportation of passengers to a long distance as passengers' capacity and load-carrying capacity of airplane fleet have increased, commercial speed of air transport has sharply increased. Having become the mass type of transport, the civil air fleet provides high rates of growth of transportations. If the volumes of transportations of passengers by railway transportation in the republic during the period from 1961 to 1981 has increased approximately in 2.1 times, automobile – in 3.4 times, the volumes of air has increased in 3.6 times. In 1981, the airplanes of civil aviation of Turkmenistan have processed 1.36 million hectares of seeding of agricultural crops (against 0.2 million hectares in 1960), their flying time on service of needs of national economy has made more than 314 thousand hours (against 36 thousand hours in 1960). In 1981 the total extent of air lines of union importance has reached 24.1 thousand kilometers, and lines of republican value – 3,35 thousand kilometers. The civil aviation of the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic had the newest airplanes Tu-154, Yak-40, Yak-42, An-24, An-26, the modern radio engineering and radar-tracking equipment allowing to accept airplanes at any time and under adverse meteorological conditions. Because of equipping of the airports with new means of radio navigation the frequency and regularity of flights have raised. There have been constructed the new and reconstructed air terminals in Chardzhou, Tashauz, Cheleken, Bekdash, Nebit-Dag.