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ACI EUROPE Shines Light on Aviation Challenges in Kazakhstan

ACI EUROPE recently met with the Government of Kazakhstan, including its Civil Aviation Committee and Aviation Administration (AAK), to discuss the country’s air connectivity challenges. During the meeting, Olivier Jankovec, the Director General of ACI EUROPE, highlighted the potential of Kazakhstan as a rapidly growing aviation market.

The country’s large size, unique geography, low population air travel rates[1], and untapped tourism potential make it an attractive market for air transport. Additionally, recent changes in geopolitics have positioned Kazakhstan for increased air traffic flows across Eurasia, prompting its airlines to expand.

ACI EUROPE Shines Light on Aviation Challenges in Kazakhstan
Almaty International Airport, the busiest airport in Kazakhstan Gleb Osokin –, Almaty Airport CC BY-SA 3.0, 1 September 2009

Limitations on Airport Charges

However, Jankovec emphasized the need to modernize and develop airports to unlock this potential fully. Long-term planning, infrastructure upgrades, and adequate financing are crucial. Jankovec also pointed out that the current limitations on airport charges in Kazakhstan are inconsistent with international standards and practices, which hinders airport funding and infrastructure development.

“The harsh limits currently placed upon Kazakh airports on what they can charge airlines is clearly an anomaly that needs to be urgently rectified. Not only are these limits at odds with international standards and practices, in particular from ICAO – but they also mean that airports are underfunded and have to disproportionately rely on ancillary activities. This is not sustainable, and risks holding up airport infrastructure development and service quality enhancements that will be essential for the success of the Kazakh aviation market,” Jankovec said.

Open Skies Policy

ACI EUROPE also highlighted the importance of pursuing an ‘Open Skies’ policy to liberalize market access within Kazakhstan and internationally. Strengthening integration with the European Union and the wider European Common Aviation Area presents an opportunity. Negotiations for an aviation agreement between Kazakhstan and the EU, as outlined in the EU-Kazakhstan Reinforced Partnership Agreement, are already underway. Cooperation with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is ongoing.
A comprehensive Aviation Agreement between Kazakhstan and the EU would further enhance collaboration and market development. Kazakhstan has the opportunity to actively support ICAO’s goal of achieving net zero CO2 emissions in international aviation by 2050. This can be achieved through the development and use of Sustainable Aviation Fuels. Kazakhstan is encouraged to establish its own strategy in cooperation with the aviation sector and international organizations to ensure the success of its national aviation market.

  1. Air trips per capita stand at 0.52 for Kazakhstan compared to 1.53 for the EU and 1.25 for Turkey.

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