Unlike most other ex-USSR states, Uzbekistan keeps its special-purpose aviation under government control. The dedicated operator, Special Aviation Services (SAS), was founded in 1997, initially as an arm of the national carrier Uzbekistan Airways aimed at optimizing the mother company’s structure. At present, SAS has its own air operator certificate and a document entitling it to provide MRO services, both issued by the Uzbek aviation authority.
In April 2015 the company increased its fleet with ninth Mi-8MTV-1 heavy transport helicopter that was delivered under a contract with Russian Helicopters. SAS helicopters are based at Sergeli airfield 7 km to the south of Tashkent. The company uses these rotorcraft in a variety of roles, including for snow patrol flights and for carrying tourists to skiing resorts. The helicopters are overhauled in Russia with MRO work performed by St. Petersburg-based provider Sparc.