NUR-SULTAN – Eleven Kazakh airports adopted an open skies regime Nov. 1, reported the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructural Development press service. The open skies regime allows more foreign carriers and more flights to operate at Kazakh airports.
“This mode is introduced at the airports of Nur-Sultan, Almaty, Shymkent, Aktau, Karaganda, Ust-Kamenogorsk, Pavlodar, Kokshetau, Taraz, Petropavlovsk and Semey. The regime provides for the removal of restrictions on the number of flights and the provision to foreign airlines of the fifth degree of freedom of the air in areas where Kazakhstan carriers do not operate,” the ministrty, which regulates the transportation industry, noted.
Foreign carriers flying under the fifth degree freedom of the air will be authorised to make connections through the cities to urban areas in third countries. The change is intended to increase Kazakhstan’s transit potential and traffic through domestic airports. The regime is valid for three years with a possible extension.
The ministry anticipates open skies will attract new foreign carriers, open new international routes, increase competition and ultimately affect air transport availability for the general population. It is also expected to help develop the country’s tourism industry and make the Astana International Financial Centre more accessible.
The open skies regime follows President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s directive announced at the Oct. 8 meeting in the capital devoted to its development.
“An important issue is the increase in the number of international flights. Currently, direct flights from Nur-Sultan are operated to less than 30 international destinations – this is not enough. After all, the capital reasonably positions itself as an international centre,” he said.
Tokayev urged not prioritising the interests of any particular airline in implementing the policy.
“In other words, there is a need to open the skies – this is my instruction to the government. There is nothing to fear; (we need not) indulge one company, even if it is the most famous, the most favourite one. (We) need to open the skies,” he added.