Capacity of Almaty, Kyzylorda and Shymkent airports to increase by several times

On the modernization of aviation infrastructure of Kazakhstan at the Government session reported the Minister of Transport Marat Karabayev. The issues of domestic and international air transportation network development, aircraft fleet replenishment and personnel situation in the industry were also considered.

In the airports of three cities, Almaty, Kyzylorda and Shymkent, next year will complete the construction of new passenger terminals. They have attracted more than 150 billion tenge of private investment for this purpose. It is expected that following the implementation of these projects, the capacity of Almaty air harbor will increase 5 times, Kyzylorda airport will increase 6 times and Shymkent airport 7 times. 

In 2024, an investor from the UAE will start reconstruction of the runway of the capital's airport at its own expense. This is one of the priority tasks set before the new management company, the Minister emphasized. 

In accordance with the order of the Head of State, the reconstruction of the runway of Pavlodar airport, taxiway and apron of Balkhash air harbor will also begin.

The department is carrying out comprehensive work to attract private investors with the necessary competencies and capital to create multimodal centers at the country's airports. 

Thus, the investor plans to modernize the runway of Karaganda airport and equip it with the necessary special equipment. Negotiations are underway to transfer the airports of Aktobe, Turkestan and Kyzylorda to the trust management of large global investors with experience in this area. A total of $2.4 billion of private investment, including foreign investment, is being attracted for these works, Karabayev reported. 

In general, the industry this year has seen positive dynamics: for 11 months domestic airlines carried 12.3 million passengers (23% more than last year). It is planned that by the end of 2023 this figure will grow to 13 million passengers.

The volume of services provided by airports increased by 25% to 24 million passengers. Significant growth is observed in Almaty and Astana, where this year a record passenger service was recorded: 9 million and 7 million, respectively. The volume of cargo handled at the airports increased up to 130 thousand tons, the indicator grew by 16%.

In order to develop the ground infrastructure of airports and further increase the transit potential of the country, work will be carried out in three directions:

  • provision of aviation fuel;
  • modernization of special machinery and equipment;
  • improvement of flight safety on the adjacent territory of airports.

Marat Karabayev noted that currently the deficit of aviation fuel in the country is about 300 thousand tons per year. This volume is planned to fill by increasing imports. To date, the fueling complex of Almaty airport is undergoing modernization and from June 2024 will switch to the use of aviation fuel JET A-1.

The Minister emphasized that the reorientation of production of domestic plants to the production of this fuel will not lead to a significant increase in volumes. In addition, significant funds are required to bring the infrastructure of all airports to accept JET A-1. Therefore, airports, given their capacity, will sequentially shift to this grade, depending on need.

In order to exclude intermediary structures affecting the final cost of products, the agency is working on the possibility of direct purchase of imported jet fuel from foreign refineries.

The level of wear and tear of special machinery and equipment of airports today is 50%. In the near future it is necessary to renew 230 units of equipment and solve the important issue of purchasing wheelchairs and ambulifts for passengers with low mobility. Financing of the projects will be carried out at the expense of own funds or preferential crediting of private airports. For the state airports together with the Ministry of Finance the allocation of funds from the budget is being worked out. 

The meeting also considered the situation with the illegal allocation of places near airports, which continues to be a threat to flight safety.

"This year, legislative changes have been adopted that exclude the emergence of new facilities on the airport territory. In this regard, akimats should pay special attention to prevent illegal construction on the territory around the airport and take measures to return to the state previously granted land plots," Karabayev emphasized.

Domestic air transportation in the country is carried out by 5 domestic companies. Now they perform 644 flights per week, which is 7% more than last year. To provide the population with affordable air transportation and the development of domestic tourism in the country are used mechanisms of subsidizing air routes. This year 6.9 billion tenge has been allocated from the republican budget to subsidize 23 air routes in 9 regions. Next year the amount is increasing and will amount to 8.2 billion tenge.

"Within the framework of international air transportation, flights are currently performed in 110 directions and to 28 countries. Over the past two years, 32 international air routes to Milan, Doha, Abu Dhabi, El Kuwait and other cities have been opened. In 2024-2025, flights to Mumbai, Tokyo, Singapore, Shanghai and New York will be launched," the head of the department said.

Six foreign airlines this year issued permits for flights to Kazakhstan. In addition, amendments were made to the "open skies" regime: all restrictions on the use of the fifth degree of "freedom of the air" have been removed.

Since March 14 next year, the largest Asian company "Air Asia" will begin to perform flights in the direction of Almaty-Kuala Lumpur. In the future, the lowcoster plans to perform flights using the fifth degree of "freedom of air" to Jeddah. It is emphasized that all this will strengthen competition in the market and increase the availability of tickets.

The air fleet of domestic companies is also being replenished: this year they purchased 10 aircrafts. As a result, the total capacity has increased by 26%, amounting to 15.2 thousand seats. Within the framework of the signed agreements by the end of 2025 the air fleet will be supplemented with 25 more units and will amount to 124 airplanes. At the same time, the number of seats will increase by 32%. It is expected that all this will contribute to reducing the cost of air tickets and the level of flight delays. Also, three new air carriers are being established in the cargo transportation segment. 

For the development of small aviation at the expense of budget funds, the runways at the airports of Balkhash, Usharal, where a new airport terminal and Urjar were built, were modernized. The state currently subsidizes flights to low-power airports. In the next 2-3 years it is planned to modernize the airports of Balkhash and Urjar, including the construction of air havens in Karkaraly, Ulytau, Zaisan and Katon-Karagai. 

The Minister also told about the situation with personnel training. Currently, there are about 20 thousand people in the domestic aviation. The annual need for additional personnel is 600 specialists.

"In the country today there is the only higher educational institution that trains personnel throughout Central Asia. However, graduates of the Academy are not in demand due to their non-compliance with international requirements, so the main aviation enterprises are forced to train personnel on their own. In order to solve the problem and increase the level of demand of our students, training in accordance with European standards EASA with the involvement of a strategic partner from France is under consideration," Marat Karabayev informed. 

Summarizing his speech, the Minister said that timely measures will be taken to provide aviation fuel, create multimodal hubs, increase the availability of air transportation and replenish the fleet of aircrafts. It is planned to increase the number of passengers at least twice in the next 6 years, and the volume of cargo handled 8 times.

#Civil aviation #Government session #Infrastructural development #Transport

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