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John W McCoy

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Member Since: May, 2001

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· Leaving It Behind

· Hidden Money

Short Stories
· My Street in Hanoi

· White Water Rafting on the Zambesi River

· Money Laundering is a Contest of Nerves for the Professionals

· Canoe Safari down the Zambesi River

· Sorting out the Sinks in the Money Laundering Game

· The Charge of the Deadly Cape Buffalo

· Transitional Countries-Financial Crisis Looms

· Money Laundering

· Survival-Life in Cambodia

· New Book Launch centered on bank corruption and money laundering

· Tashkent Uzbekistan News - 30 October 2001

· News from Tashkent Uzbekistan - October 2001

· Author's introduction to Leaving it Behind by John W. McCoy

· Author's Background to Leaving it Behind as described by Ruth Downing

· About the Author - Leaving it Behind

· Author's news update

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In the Skies of Uzbekistan - December 2001

1/25/2002 10:09:00 PM

by John W McCoy

And life goes on each day with a new surprise always around the corner in Uzbekistan. That even goes for flying on the only domestic airline in the country operating antiquated Soviet aircraft that screams to fall out of the skies when they become too old and tried.
In the Skies of Uzbekistan - December 2001
By: John W. McCoy

And life goes on each day with a new surprise always around the corner in Uzbekistan. That even goes for flying on the only domestic airline in the country operating antiquated Soviet aircraft that screams to fall out of the skies when they become too old and tried.
I am continually amazed at the surprises that surface as I try to focus on this assignment in Tashkent working with government banks that do not wish to change or to be changed. To put it another way, the powers to be in the government and at the central bank don't want them to change. The central bank controls the banks and dictates policy and appoints the senior executives. The government on the other hand dictates to the central bank so it becomes circular race of politics. The reluctance to change in the banking sector will continue for a few years. Last March, the IMF became so frustrated with the government and its dogmatic attitudes that it closed it office in Tashkent and sent its representative to another assignment, and to another country willing to listen.
But those things happening with the government, the donors' organization's efforts to bring about change in the country and the deteriorating position of the banking system is recognized and can be accepted for what it is. We go about our work, as consultants, in an unchanging world with muted words.
But on this assignment, I must fly frequently between Tashkent and Andijan, which is only an hour's flight. After forty years of traveling around the world on all types of airlines, I am now developing a fear of flying. And it has nothing to do with the recent tragic event in New York.
Andijan is the regional capital of Fergana Valley, which is the Moslem stronghold of Uzbekistan. It's a rich agricultural area for the country and the population of 13 million is fifty percent of the total population of the country. And, as rumors go in Uzbekistan, the odd terrorist activities in the country originate in the valley. There must be a reason for a high concentration of Uzbek military forces in the valley, and not far from Afghanistan. And the high-tech aircraft is not part of the domestic Uzbek Airlines. They are military, both Uzebek and foreign without disclosing the country of origin.
The domestic airline of Uzbek Airlines have antiquated Soviet aircraft, probably for free after independence ten-years ago. The international airlines of Uzbek Airline are a different story with the newest aircraft from Airbus and Boeing. But concerns are still talked about concerning maintenance of the aircraft. But that is the only way to arrive in Tashkent from South East Asia.
Flying locally between Tashkent and Andijan, a traveler must be prepared for delays or flight cancellations. If the Yak 40 carrying 40 passengers is not full at boarding time, the flight is cancelled or delayed until the flight is full. There is no explanation given by the airline. The passengers have several options - to wait until the flight is recalled, which means that the flight is full, or they can leave the airport and wait another day. Flight schedules change at a drop of the hat and at the discretion of the airline. The bulk of the revenue from passengers comes from the foreign travelers, but there are not many foreigners traveling in Uzbekistan. For an example, a local will pay the equivalent of US$12.00 (black market rate) and the foreigner will pay in US dollars about US$ 77.00. But the fare will change most weeks and will not go lower for the foreigners.
Boarding call is finally announced and the passengers move out to a waiting bus, and a very old tired bus to take them out to the waiting aircraft. It's normally anyone's guess as to what type of aircraft will be used - a Yak 40 or an ancient Tupalov. From a distance, we can see both types of aircraft parked side by side but which one we will be flying is always the question. On the last trip to Andijan, I was unlucky to board up the back stairs just under the rear engines of a Yak 40. I walked down the narrow aisle quickly to pick my seat, hoping that the seat belts would work. If it's not the faulty seat beats, it will be luck if you find a seat where the back of the seat stay upright for any great distant. I had the misfortune of finding a seat that continually collapsed during the entire flight. I would smile and apologize to the passenger behind me. He said a few times, ‘no problems. It happens all the time on these flights.’
Then I looked around the aircraft that was slowly bouncing over the air currents above the snow-capped mountaintops not far below. I heard the engines in the back struggling to gain altitude and wondered. Inside the aircraft, the last time they touched the interior of the aircraft was probably when it left the manufacturer's assembly line. How many years ago can only be a guess for the lucky passengers trying to reach their destination? And then I would wonder as we bounce on the air currents, is this worthwhile? Beverages are served during the flight - water - and take it or leave it.
The landing is an adventure as the aircraft starts a quick descent and levels off about 200 meters above the runway. The nose tips slightly upwards at the last possible moment and you feel the wheels touching the tarmac - not touching, bouncing a few times as it settles now and rattles slowly towards the terminal.
The good old pilots bring the Yak 40 to an abrupt stop at the terminal; engines are shut down quickly. The pilots are the first to leave the aircraft, moving quickly down the aisle to make a fast exit before the passengers. The locals take this as normal procedure and don't move until the pilots are clear. The foreigners breathe slowly, thankful to be on the ground again but wondering when is the next trip, and on what type of aircraft.

Recently author John W. McCoy took up his second assignment within a year in Uzbekistan. His assignment this time is with a World Bank sponsored and funded financial sector reform program for the Uzbekistan banking system. The observations are the author's only. McCoy recently published two novels (works of fiction) through American Book Publishing Group - Hidden Money and Leaving it Behind. Both novels have had popular acclaim from those readers who have read them and can be purchased direct from the publisher on or through or through his personal website on linked to the publisher.

More News by John W McCoy

· New Book Launch centered on bank corruption and money laundering - 2/6/2005 10:21:00 PM
· Tashkent Uzbekistan News - 30 October 2001 - 11/6/2001 10:56:00 PM
· News from Tashkent Uzbekistan - October 2001 - 11/6/2001 10:50:00 PM
· Author's introduction to Leaving it Behind by John W. McCoy - 9/30/2001 1:40:00 PM
· Author's Background to Leaving it Behind as described by Ruth Downing - 9/30/2001 1:37:00 PM
· About the Author - Leaving it Behind - 9/30/2001 1:35:00 PM
· Author's news update - 9/30/2001 1:20:00 PM
· News from Tashkent Uzbekistan (Central Asia) - 9/30/2001 11:00:00 AM

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