Kazakhstan’s carriers await removal from Europe’s blacklist

Experts expect rapid growth of transit traffic once Kazakhstan airlines regain their right to fly to European destinations Experts expect rapid growth of transit traffic once the country’ carriers regain their right to fly to European destinations (Photo by Russian Aviation Insider)

Kazakhstan expects all restrictions on the local carriers’ flights to Europe to be lifted on December 8, Delovoi Kazakhstan newswire cites the country’s Minister for investment and development Zhenis Kasymbek. This can lead turn this Central Asian country into another transit point between Europe and Asia. Up until now all of Kazakhstan’s carriers are blacklisted in Europe for aviation security concerns, with the exception of national carrier Air Astana and a start-up airline Qazaq Air which claimed it had no intentions to fly to European countries.

The work is currently underway to resolve the issues pointed out by ICAO’s audits, Kasymbek said. “Just a week ago in Brussels we delivered a final report in the results of our work with ICAO,” he emphasized.

Experts believe that rapid growth of transit traffic between Europe and Asia will be the first major consequence of the local carriers’ removal from the black list. Kasymbek pointed out that the number of transit travelers through Astana and Almaty has grown ten times in the last half a decade. Today 200,000 transit passengers pass through Astana airport annually, and another 100,000 passengers though Almaty airport. By 2020 the number is expected to reach 1 million passengers.

Kazakhstan has been working on improving its aviation security for the last five years. According to a validation process conducted in September 2016, the level of efficient implementation of ICAO’s SARPs reached 74%. “The average figure globally is 63%, and the European average is 76%,” Kasymbek explained.

To streamline their efforts, a year ago Kazakh authorities hired CAAi, a British consultancy, which is a part of Britain’s Civil Aviation Administration to help the country align its practices with ICAO’s requirements.

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