ASTANA – The Auliye-Ata International Airport in Taraz will be ready to commission a new terminal in the third quarter of this year, the Liter newspaper reported on Feb. 6, citing the Zhambyl Oblast Akimat (governor’s office).
The issue of the airport’s reconstruction has been around since the late 1990s, when the airport was awarded international status.
Despite international status, however, the condition of the airport, including its passenger service, terminal and runway, suggested otherwise.
The local train station was renewed and new bus stations were built, but the airport was left waiting for its turn. Up until very recently, all that had been done was some work improving the landscaping of the surrounding area and the restoration of street lights. A project was launched a few years ago to finally refurbish the airport, but was halted for lack of funding. Finally, in 2013, the long-awaited work started.
According to the press service of the regional akimat, 1.3 billion tenge (US$7 million) was allocated for the modernisation of the airport. Currently, the annex of the new building is almost ready and the external communications network and roofing work have been completed. At the moment, a new domestic heating system, new plumbing and new interior decoration are being installed.
“The terminal building will meet all requirements of the building regulations of Kazakhstan [and] advanced technological and inspection equipment will be provided,” Liter quoted regional akimat expert Baurzhan Tuyakbayev as saying.Two telescopic ladders, seven check-in desks, four elevators to carry up to 200 passengers per hour and requirements to counter any potential terrorist attacks are to be provided. Necessary facilities for people with disabilities are also to be provided.
Without government help, the modernisation of the airport would not have been possible. For example, in 2013, the airport runway was reconstructed with 4.7 billion (US$25.4 million) from the state budget. The runway is now 3,500 metres long and 60 metres wide, which allows the airport to receive heavier aircraft. The reconstruction of the terminal building is being carried out by owners of the airport and financed by the regional budget.
The Taraz airport reconstruction is hoped to bring tangible economic benefits to the city and the region, including increasing both outbound and incoming tourist flows.
The latter is especially relevant this year as the city – which is the capital of the region that includes the valleys of the Talas and Chu rivers, where the Kazakh khanate was declared in 1465 – gets ready to host major events commemorating the 550th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s statehood this autumn.