EU lifts ban for Kazakhstan airlines

Taking Kazakhstan off the EU’s blacklist will supposedly provide the country with new transfer passengers Taking Kazakhstan off the EU’s blacklist will supposedly provide the country with new transfer passengers (Photo by Vmenkov // Wikipedia)

The European Commission removed all Kazakhstan airlines from the EU Air Safety List. Europe therefore acknowledged that Kazakhstan aviation authorities now ensure the required level of aviation safety in accordance with ICAO standards. The local carriers now can operate flights to the European destinations.

The lift of the EU ban was much-anticipated. Kazakh minister of investment and development Zhenis Kasymbek said a week ago that intensive work to rectify the flaws had been going on until the last moment.

“The EU Air Safety list is one of our main instruments to continuously offer the highest level of air safety to Europeans. I am particularly glad that after years of work and European technical assistance, we are today able to clear all Kazakh air carriers”, said EU commissioner for transport Violeta Bulc.

With all restrictions eliminated, Kazakhstan major airports are looking forward to increased traffic of transfer passengers travelling from Asia to Europe. The gross transfer flow via Almaty and Astana today comprises 300 thousand passengers while it is forecasted to reach a million by 2020.

Kazakhstan initiated work to enhance aviation safety about five years ago and was assisted along the way by CAAi consulting agency, a subsidiary of the UK Civil Aviation Authority. Kazakh officials now report the validation conducted in September this year demonstrated that the country not only adheres to ICAO recommendations but meets even higher standards.

However, the decision to lift the ban for Kazakhstan did not affect two national airlines. Flag-carrier Air Astana was not on the blacklist in the first place and in 2009 – 2015 was subject to partial operational restrictions only. Besides, regional airline Qazaq Air, which has never intended to operate flights to Europe, was not on the list either.

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