ASTANA – One hundred sixty-seven billion tenge ($902 million) has been slated for investment into Kazakhstan’s airports, Director General of the Airport Management Group LLP Claude Badan announced on Jan. 29 at a Central Communications Service briefing.
The investment will be made over the next five years, Badan said, with many large-scale projects to be implemented between 2015 and 2017. Work is ongoing now on new terminals at Astana and Kyzylorda airports and other upgrades, including introducing new systems to control queues, are being put into place, he said.
Kazakhstan will host the international specialised exhbition EXPO 2017 in two years, and efforts are underway to prepare its infrastructure for the potential millions of visitors the expo could draw. And among the large infrastructure projects envisioned in President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s recently announced Nurly Zhol economic stimulus package is airport development.
According to Badan, 105 billion tenge ($567 million) will be invested in developing airports, the rest into “minimum technical requirements,” as reported by primeminister.kz, Kazpravda.kz and other outlets. From 2015 to 2017, runways, passenger terminals and airfield infrastructure will be reconstructed at the Astana, Petropavlovsk and Kostanai airports, and Astana, Kyzylorda and Shymkent will see new passenger terminals of international standards built.
The Swiss company Zurich Airport International has become a strategic partner in the upgrade process, Badan announced. The joint seven-year plan of upgrades includes implementing international-standard safety systems at Kazakhstan’s airports, improving the quality of service, introducing long-term planning of airport infrastructure, improving profitability, commercialising airports, introducing uniform operating and reporting standards and increasing training options and professionalism at airports.
Another 22.8 billion tenge ($123 million) will be invested into airports and the air network to 2030, Badan said.
Kanat Alpysbayev, vice president of Kazakhstan Temir Zholy, the national railway company that now oversees renovations works at the airports as well, recently said that the Astana airport’s new terminal should be completed in March 2017. More than 60 billion tenge ($324 million) is to be invested in the project, which will be used to build a new terminal, renovate runways and taxiways, install beacons and build a new deck. Financing will come from different organisations, he said, including loans from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
The project aims to increase the capacity of the capital city’s airport by up to 7 million people. Astana is currently the country’s second largest international airport; the largest is in Almaty.