Third Kazakhstani carrier meets IATA’s safety standard

Qazaq Air Kazakh start-up Qazaq Air, which currently operates in the domestic air travel market only, is gearing up for the launch of international flights (Qazaq Air)

Qazaq Air, launched in 2015, is Kazakhstan’s third carrier to pass the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA), which is an internationally-recognised and accepted evaluation system designed to assess an airline’s operational management and control systems.

State-owned Qazaq Air reveals that international aviation experts have scrutinised the operation and maintenance of its fleet of three Bombardier Q400s, along with the regional carrier’s operational management and flight dispatch services, ground handling and flight safety management system.

The Kazakh start-up, which currently operates only in the domestic air travel market, aims to expand its scheduled services on an international level. Thus far, Qazaq Air’s only experience with international operations is a charter programme to Issyk-Kul, a popular lake resort area in the northern Tian Shan mountains in neighbouring eastern Kyrgyzstan.

Commenting on the regional carrier successfully passing its IOSA, Blair Treherne Pollock, chairman of the board, explains: “[An] IOSA certificate opens [up] new opportunities for the airline and will allow Qazaq Air to operate scheduled international flights.”

Apart from ensuring that airlines comply with international aviation safety standards, the IOSA also facilitates interline agreements between carriers. Kazakhstan’s national flag carrier Air Astana and privately-owned SCAT Airlines have both attained IOSA accreditation and are members of IATA. As a result, 95 per cent of airline passengers in Kazakhstan are now served by IOSA certificate holders.

“[This is] a clear indication of the levels of safety within Kazakhstan’s civil aviation on the whole,” declares Jordan Karmalakov, IATA’s regional manager for the central Asia region.

The country has been working on improving its flight safety levels, whilst implementing a British-style model of regulations within the national aviation industry. Transforming Kazakhstan into an attractive place to transit is a major goal, which is facilitated by the nation being removed from the European Union’s aviation safety blacklist and the authorising of flights to European countries, with the lifting of restrictions set in 2016.

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