30.05.2023, 11:04 40171

Passenger interests should be key priority - Alikhan Smailov on civil aviation development in Kazakhstan

Passenger interests should be key priority - Alikhan Smailov on civil aviation development in Kazakhstan
Measures for further development of the civil aviation industry were considered at the Government session chaired by Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov, primeminister.kz reports.

The Minister of Industry and Infrastructural Development Marat Karabayev reported that at the end of 2022 the number of passengers carried by domestic airlines increased by 17% to 11 million people. The positive dynamics is maintained this year as well. At the same time air travel is growing rapidly. Thus, 410,000 flights were serviced in 2022, which is 90% higher than in 2021.

As of today there are over 700 domestic flights a week on 56 routes and international flights to 27 countries on 103 routes. Nine more destinations will be added this year: Doha, Kuala Lumpur, Ankara, Karachi, Lahore, Jeddah, Muscat, Prague and Tel Aviv. Flights to Mumbai, Hong Kong, Vienna, Tokyo, Singapore, New York and other cities are scheduled to open before 2025. The level of compliance with international flight safety standards in Kazakhstan is 82%. This is the highest indicator among the CIS countries. The Republic is on par with such European Union countries as Denmark and Poland.

In 2023, the modernization of the airports of Shymkent, Almaty, Kyzylorda and Kostanay is planned. Also, in accordance with the instruction of the Head of State, the issue of reconstruction of the runway of Pavlodar airport and taxiway, ramp of Balkhash airport is being worked out.

Plans for further development of the industry: increase the level of compliance with flight safety standards to 90%, reconstruction of all airport terminals, completion of new terminals in Shymkent and Almaty airports, etc.

Presentations at the meeting were also made by the CEO of the Aviation Administration of Kazakhstan Katalin Radu and heads of the largest players of the aviation market: the president of Air Astana Peter Foster and president of SCAT airline Vladimir Denisov.

Prime Minister stressed that after the pandemic domestic civil aviation begins a new stage of its development: the number of passengers increases, the previously existing flights are restored, new routes are opened.

Expansion of international routes promotes the further development of trade and economic, investment, tourist and cultural cooperation of Kazakhstan with other states. The head of the Government has identified a number of problems in the aviation industry, which must be solved.

In some airports of the country it is necessary to repair the runways. Almost everywhere outdated special equipment is used: ramps, refueling machines, tractors. International standards of airdrome area are not complied with, when the land around airports is used for residential and business buildings. This affects flight safety," Alikhan Smailov enumerated.

He added that the Government has repeatedly considered the issue of increasing the production of jet fuel, as it is the availability of domestic fuel is one of the key factors in attracting cargo airlines, which transit through the country.

Prime Minister also pointed out that the Kazakh people have expressed reasonable criticism of domestic airlines. For example, because of the cancellation of flights before departure.

In January-February this year, Fly Arystan cancelled almost half of the flights from Kostanay airport to Astana and Almaty. On February 25, the passengers of this airline made a scandal because of the delay of the flight Astana - Shymkent for 10 hours. As a result it was cancelled altogether. Unfortunately, representatives of the airlines avoid a direct dialogue with the passengers, do not comment on the reasons for the delay in time, do not offer an appropriate service," the Head of Government said.

According to him, the pricing policy also raises questions. For example, a one-and-a-half-hour flight by the so-called low-cost carrier from Astana to Almaty can cost twice as much as a similar route in Europe, the United States or China. In this connection, the Agency for Competition Protection and Development considers that the dynamic pricing of airlines works to maximize their revenues, but not in the interests of consumers.

The so-called fuel surcharge, which logically should depend on changes in the price of jet fuel, remains in the price of the ticket at the same level. Therefore, we should reconsider our attitude to pricing and constantly work to improve airline service and quality of service. The interests of passengers should be a key priority," Prime Minister pointed out.

Alikhan Smailov instructed the authorized government agencies to prepare road maps to modernize the airport infrastructure, work to withdraw illegally issued land near the airfields, as well as to work out the issue of increasing the production of aviation kerosene.

In conclusion, he noted the need to think about incentives to attract international passenger and cargo airlines, to work out the application of dynamic pricing to limit the use of high demand for maximum revenue, and to accelerate the exclusion from the law "On the use of airspace" the application of the fuel tax.

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