ASTANA – Air Astana jet carrying 124 Kazakh nationals and 42 foreigners returned home from Tel Aviv late Tuesday amid the aggravation of the situation in Israel, reported Kazinform on Oct. 11. Repatriation flight arrived at Almaty international airport at 11.32 p.m. local time on Oct. 10.
According to Vice President of Marketing and Sales at Air Astana Adel Dauletbek, there were two babies and relatives of Kazakh citizens among those who arrived.
“The situation in Israel has deteriorated sharply since Saturday. In this regard, Air Astana suspended flights. Only today, it was possible to operate an evacuation flight. The company’s management took decisive measures to evacuate our citizens who were trapped in this country,” he said.
Dauletbek noted they “did not leave a single citizen of Kazakhstan at the Tel Aviv airport.”
“We were able to pick them all up. We have been closely monitoring the situation in Israel. It was a very tense situation. This was a difficult step for us because there were no civilian flights left there. All of them were canceled. We are glad that we were able to carry out this flight,” he said.
Arriving passengers shared their worries. Some of them heard rocket attacks and sirens. Artur Kovalevsky, who was onboard the repatriation flight, thanked the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the air carrier for organizing the evacuation flight.
“If I am not mistaken, then Kazakhstan is the only country that urgently evacuated its citizens. The foreign ministry created a chat very quickly to support us. We are very grateful and proud of our country,” he said.
Fourteen Kazakh citizens who underwent internship under the Bolashak scholarship program in Israel were also among those evacuated. Two more students who flew to Dubai for the national holiday will be returned to Kazakhstan on the next repatriation flight.