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Turkmenistan - Ashgabat International Airport

U.S. Embassy Statement on the FLEX Program

FLEX Program Logo

Each fall, the U.S. Embassy in Ashgabat, in cooperation with American Councils, has welcomed Turkmen students to apply for the Future Leaders Exchange Program, or FLEX.  In 2016, over 1,000 students applied for 25 spots to study at U.S. high schools during the 2017-18 academic year. Last year, American Councils conducted testing in Ashgabat, Balkanabat, Dashoguz, Mary, Tejen, Turkmenbashy, and Turkmenabat between September and November 2016 in a process open to all Turkmen students who met the age and other criteria. The Embassy is thrilled to support the program, which promotes mutual understanding between the two countries and offers a unique cultural experience  to Turkmenistan’s students.

We expect testing dates for the 2017 FLEX program to be announced soon. The Embassy and American Councils are currently awaiting approval from the Government of Turkmenistan to proceed with testing.  Once approval is received, dates and locations will be announced on the Embassy website and via social media. Please note that American Councils administers FLEX testing, and any further questions regarding the process of applying for FLEX should be referred to them. The American Councils website is here.

U.S. Embassy Statement on the FLEX Program

Turkmenistan – Visa Requirements

Includes information on what is needed to travel to the country/economy.

Last Published: 11/3/2017 American citizens must have a valid passport and visa and/or letter of invitation from the Turkmenistan Government to enter and exit Turkmenistan. The passport must have one completely blank page. To apply for a visa, all U.S. citizens must complete an application and have a letter of invitation approved by the State Migration Service (SMS) in Ashgabat. An individual in Turkmenistan must submit the letter of invitation on behalf of an American citizen to the SMS, accompanied by a copy of the traveler’s passport ID page. Each traveler’s passport must be valid for at least six months following the date of the application. The SMS requires at least 15 working days for approval. The U.S. Embassy in Ashgabat does not issue letters of invitation to citizens interested in private travel to Turkmenistan. The U.S. Embassy facilitates business travel to Turkmenistan by applying for a letter of invitation on behalf of employees of American companies.

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Asian Games end on high note in Ashgabat

For 10 days, the sporting flame lit up Turkmenistan’s capital Ashgabat. It became the first city in Central Asia to host the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, bringing together 6.000 athletes from across Asia and Oceania.
This 5th edition saw more than 340 medal events, a new world record, and the rise of new sporting stars.
According to Husain Al Musallam, Director General of the Olympic Council of Asia, “Asia really is the biggest continent, with a lot of different cultures. These cultures give you a different variety of sports. Sport makes peace, unites people and the main message is peace.”
The Games opened with a spectacular ceremony, featuring more than 7.000 performers from 39 countries. The show’s producer was award-winning stage director Francisco Negrin.
“As Turkmenistan was at the centre of the Silk Road – all the commerce routes throughout history between all the countries in Asia – it was easy to make the metaphorical link with sports now coming on this new silk road, if you like, to Ashgabat,” he said.
The flame travelled across the country for 500 days on horseback before reaching the arena, built especially for the occasion. It was transported on the back of Turkmenistan’s famous Akhal Teke horse, in scenes reminiscent of the epic legend of Gorogly.

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Ashgabat International Airport Reconstruction, Turkmenistan


Ashgabat International Airport was reopened in September 2016 with a new state-of-the-art terminal and upgraded infrastructure facilities. Formerly known as Saparmurat Turkmenbasy International Airport, it is located approximately 10km north-east of Turkmenistan’s capital city, Ashgabat.

The airport, which was first opened in 1994 with limited facilities, has been completely redesigned and reconstructed to cater to rapidly growing passenger traffic.

Covering 1,200ha, the new airport is the largest in central Asia and has the capacity to handle more than 17 million passengers a year. Construction of the new airport was initiated in 2013 at an estimated cost of $2.25bn, and completed in 2016.

The project received ‘Construction Excellence Award’ from International Property & Travel magazine for its architectural concept, quality of project planning and construction.

The new airport also features a cargo terminal, which has a capacity to handle 200,000t a year of cargo.

Design details of the new terminal building

The airport features two terminals covering a total area of 161,851m². The main terminal can handle 14 million passengers a year, including five million domestic and nine million international passengers, while the second terminal can accommodate three million passengers a year.

The design of the terminal building is inspired by Turkmenistan’s national symbols. The main terminal takes the shape of a Turkmen Falcon spreading its wings and the edge of its main roof is in the form of Oguz Han’s bow.

The terminal’s internal space features displays, fluorescent sign boards, advertising and information boards, and display monitors.

It was awarded ‘International Star Award for Quality’ by the Business Initiative Directions (BID), which recognised the airport’s design as ‘daring and outstanding’.

Features and facilities of the main terminal

The main terminal is a five-storey building with a basement. The first floor incorporates domestic and international baggage reclaim areas, customs control, and other passenger amenities, such as a welcome hall, clinic, prayer room, post offices, car rental offices, hair dresser services, and VIP, CIP and bus lounges.

The departure hall is located on the second floor with passenger facilities such as check-in counters, information centres, ticket counters, retail stores, and food and beverage outlets.

After passing through a security check, passengers can proceed to the immigration area, which further leads to a large duty-free commercial space offering a wide variety of retail, food and beverage, and sitting areas. Passengers can also access the central concourse area, which features gate holding lounges.

The third floor of the building receives arriving passengers and features a transfer point, passport control area, food and beverage outlets, and business class lounges for departing passengers.

The fourth floor has a 50-room hotel for transfer passengers and aircrew, and food and beverage outlets.

The top floor hosts multiple aircraft ramp system (MARS) stands, which contain a total of 18 stands for narrow-body code C aircraft, and six stands for single, wide-body aircraft.

The basement level features a baggage handling system, storage areas, and various facilities for airport personnel, such as lockers, showers, changing rooms and a canteen.

The airport’s design allows for fast and easy flow of passengers and features amenities, including 53 elevators, 18 moving walkways, 41 automatic escalators, and telescopic gangways for disabled passengers.

Ashgabat international airport runways and taxiways

The reconstruction project also included the construction of a new 3,800m-long CAT-III runway. The runway has Code F capacity, and can accommodate large aircraft, such as the Airbus A380 and the Boeing B747-8.

An area more than 2.42 million m² of runways, aprons and taxiways was constructed as part of the project.

Other new facilities at the airport

The reconstruction project also included the development of a new VIP terminal and parking area with 3,000 vehicle slots, located close to the terminal.

The expansion included a maintenance hangar, which can accommodate three aircraft, fuel supply systems, repair and warehouse facilities, and a catering building.

“The reconstruction project also included the construction of a new 3,800m-long CAT-III runway.”

Other new facilities included a civil aviation school, flight and cabin training simulation facilities, a dormitory, hospital, sports hall, fire-fighting buildings, and administrative and technical support facilities.

Bird-Shaped Ashgabat Airport Spreads its Wings in Turkmenistan

ashgabat airport-ის სურათის შედეგი

Designing airports based on flight-inspired, aerodynamic forms is nothing new – in fact, that has been the concept behind some of history’s most beautiful airport terminals, such as Eero Saarinen’s iconic TWA Terminal in New York. But until now, no airport building has been quite so literal with its symbolism as the recently unveiled Ashgabat International Airport.

The new terminal building in Turkmenistan’s capital takes the form of a soaring falcon, echoing the mascot of the national airline carrier. And at a cost of $2.3 billion USD, the structure has already drummed up some controversy – critics claim the building is much larger than needed to handle the country’s relative low traffic rates.

Ashgabat: the weird, wonderful and eerily empty capital of Turkmenistan

Ashgabat holds the Guinness World Record for “the city having the highest density of white marble-clad buildings”. Pictures: Ayesha Sitara

It is an unexpected pit stop in the middle of nowhere; a lonely petrol station on the side of the road. The only other traffic, four camels trot towards the tiny hamlet where, having driven out to the Darvaza gas crater, we are taking turns to wash our SUVs. Sure, the vehicles need it after two days in the Karakum desert, but why now and why here?

It turns out that this is the last stop before Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmeni­stan, where the driving of dirty cars is illegal. Surreal? From touch down at the city’s huge falcon-shaped airport to the moment you leave the country, this mysterious “Stan” is exactly that.

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