The Quality Series

SUE Tajikairnavigation – World Class Air Traffic Control

Quality, dependability, cutting-edge technological advances, and a demonstrated commitment to the principle of continuous improvement define this young navigation service provider

© 2016 J. Zamora / Dave V

When a country is seeking to increase its connectivity to the rest of the world—in order to facilitate trade, diplomacy, or tourism, for instance—the two sectors that need the most attention are usually telecommunications and transport. Both of these sectors rely heavily on having modern and efficient infrastructure, usually provided by the state. And both of these sectors, in which international compatibility is desired, require a rigorous adherence with international standards, in order to ease the transition and remain compatible with standards abroad.

The Republic of Tajikistan, a landlocked country in Central Asia with a population of about 8 million, is one of those developing nations that has been actively seeking increased cooperation, investment, and business opportunities with partners abroad. The country is considered to have a “transition economy,” as—though it is developing—a very high percentage of its GDP is based on remittances from Tajikistanis working abroad, as well as its aluminum and cotton industries. Possibilities of growth abound, however, especially if cooperation abroad can be impeached. For one, the country has an eco-tourism sector poised for growth, with its wildly beautiful mountainous terrain. Those same mountains, at the same time, provide high potential for hydroelectric power production and export.

A country without any access to the sea, and largely isolated geographically from concentrated population centers abroad, Tajikistan needed another way to facilitate travel in and out of the country. This is why, beginning in the late 2000’s, the government threw itself into creating a modern and world-class air-transport sector, a process, albeit still ongoing, that has thus far been successful. Tajikistan’s air travel industry centers on the capital and largest city in the country, Dushanbe. Dushanbe International Airport, Tajikistan’s largest, serves the capital and surrounding areas, and also acts as the international gateway for the nation. The city is also home to the headquarters of Tajikistan’s relatively newly-established air traffic control and navigation organization, SUE Tajikairnavigation, which become independent in 2009. The air traffic control was established in 1945 and was part of Tajik Air company after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

When SUE Tajikairnavigation (sometimes referred to as TAN, for short) was created by a governmental decree issued in 2008, the need for a modern and specialized agency to control air traffic was apparent, and it wasn’t an operation that could take its time in being set up. The SUE in the organization’s name stands for State Unitary Enterprise, a kind of hybrid state-enterprise that means all of TAN’s assets belong to the government, but its operations are independently managed. This gives TAN the flexibility and of a private enterprise along with the resources, backing, and public-serving mission of the state. Organized under the Ministry of Transport of the Republic of Tajikistan, TAN operates, in addition to its headquarters in Dushanbe, three additional subsidiaries in the cities of Khujand, Kulob, and Kurgan-Tube. Also staff of TAN operating in airports of local airlines. In first year, management quickly established and organized the nationwide agency, deploying technology to airports around the country and getting operations up and running.

© 2016 J. Zamora / Dave V

TAN provides communication, navigation and surveillance to airspace users. TAN’s principle function is to organize and expedite the flow of air traffic within the country’s airspace, as well as prevent collisions, monitor and collect meteorological information, and provide information and advisory support to pilots. It handles take offs and landings of passenger and commercial air traffic, conducts air surveillance to ensure compliance with rules governing national airspace and ensuring all flights are authorized, and assists with the control of operations on the the tarmac of the airport, clearing opportunities for vehicles to cross busy runways. It took over the operation of a meteorological service as well for its specific weather monitoring needs.

As TAN grew and developed during its early years, 2011 proved to be a turning point for the agency as it began implementing major improvements across the scope of its operations. One major milestone that year was the implementation of the multi-point observation technology known as MLAT, which stands for multilateration. MLAT, a system involving the installation of ground monitoring stations around the surveillance area that can receive signals from all transponder equipped aircraft, is the best way to monitor the skies in mountainous terrain. Effectively solving the line-of-sight obstruction problem that mountains have present radar-based systems, TAN was able to take over the air traffic control services in the northern part of the country that were previously provided by Uzbekistan.

Also in 2011, SUE Tajikairnavigation increased airspace capacity by reducing the size of the vertical separation minima, known in the industry as RVSM, which was made possible by the improved technological capabilities of the agency. In 2012, TAN installed ATIS in Dushanbe, which allows to continuously broadcast a weather information packet to all airplanes flying in the airspace. With the company’s incredible achievements, Tajikistan has officially made the leap to modern and world-class technological infrastructure. Topping off the country’s achievements, Dushanbe International Airport finished construction on a new terminal in 2014, which added additional annual capacity of 1.5 million passengers per year.

One can clearly see, looking over TAN’s accomplishments and accolades, that QuaIity Management has formed an extremely important part of the company’s success. It actively seeks excellence in operations and adherence to world class standards in everything that it does. For instance, it attained the ISO 9001: 2008 certification in the field of Meteorological Service in 2014, not a small feat. At the moment, organization implementing ISO 9001:2015 in its services. It has executed its goal of continuous improvement extremely well, adding and mastering new technologies, solving problems, and working on efficiency.

Another incredibly important part of its Quality is the training and development of its employees, who are often sent overseas to study at post-secondary institutions such as the Minsk State Higher Aviation College. The company has also begun utilizing distance-learning technologies to educate its employees while they are being trained on the job. Over all, 325 employees have been trained in Russia, France, China, Luxembourg, Germany and Malaysia since the founding of SUE Tajikairnavigation. The Dushanbe headquarters also features three on-site classrooms, one for language training, one for professional development, and one for ATC simulator training.

For its central role in the overall development plan of Tajikistan, for its admirable execution of its core mission, for taking the concept of “continuous improvement” to heart and optimizing processes and improving capabilities across the scope of its operations, and for its development and training of employees with the highest level education available, SUE Tajikairnavigation has been selected by Business Initiative Directions to receive the 2016 BID International Quality Award, a recognition offered to organizations and companies around the world that define and exemplify the core values of the QC100 and Quality Management.


BID is a private and independent organization founded in 1984, whose primary activity is business communication orientated towards quality, excellence and innovation in management. A leader in the broadcasting of Quality Culture, BID recognizes those companies and organizations which lead the most important activities in the business world, and is considered the founding organization in the broadcasting of the Culture of Quality, Excellence and Innovation in 179 countries. The trophy symbolizes a pledge to the principles of Quality Culture. The QC100 Total Quality Management Model, together with the Quality Mix program, media coverage of the convention and its impact on the community and business sector, create an unmatched platform for continuous improvement within the organization and awareness of the achievements of the company at an international level. Awards are given only to those who are committed to improving their Quality Culture based on the principles of the QC100 Total Quality Management Model. Candidates are proposed by the leaders of previously awarded companies who they consider worthy of the award. Especially meritorious candidates may also be nominated. The International BID Quality Award Selection Committee then chooses the winning companies who will receive the award in New York, Paris, Geneva, Frankfurt, Madrid and London.