U.S. airlines to be able to fly to Kazakhstan this year – Roman Sklyar

Roman Sklyar, First Vice-Minister of Industry and Infrastructure Development, Kazakhstan, spoke about the work on launching direct flights to the United States and Japan, according to the Kazinform News Agency, Kazakhstan.

“In order to fulfill the instructions of the President of Kazakhstan, a legal framework has been established for flights in the USA. At present, there is a legal basis between Kazakhstan and Japan, which allows the launching of flights between countries with a frequency of up to 14 flights a week. This year, issues of state support for domestic air companies to launch such flights to Japan and the USA will be worked out,” Mr. Sklyar said, when speaking at an expanded meeting of the board of the Ministry.

At the same time, the First Deputy Prime Minister Askar Mamin, who was present at the meeting, recalled that at the first stage these flights would be unprofitable and it was necessary to resolve the issue of their subsidies.

“We are now preparing a package of documents for subsidizing flights. The agreement was signed with Japan and in the second half of the year we plan to launch a flight to this country. Air Astana will fly. As for the United States, our Civil Aviation Committee and Air Astana must pass an audit of the U.S. aviation authorities for compliance with safety criteria, and this takes a long time — about two years. At the first stage, it is possible to attract foreign air companies. Thus, U.S. airlines will be able to fly to Kazakhstan as early as this year, and ours will be able to fly to the USA in 2021,” Mr. Sklyar informed.

In turn, Peter Foster, President of Air Astana Airlines, believes that this period may be accelerated.

“The process is long, in particular, obtaining approval from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (…) The negotiation process has already begun. And we are working closely with the ministry on this issue. As for the flights to New York, the option is being considered through an intermediate point, which will also require the signing of an additional agreement on commercial traffic. But if everything goes according to plan, then next year we plan to start flight operations,” Mr. Foster informed.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development, there is a steady development in international transportation. If in 2013 flights were carried out along 73 air routes, then in 2018 they increased to 96. Only in 2018, Kazakhstan and foreign airlines launched 14 new air links. At present, 23 international airlines operate their regular international passenger flights to Kazakhstan.

Source – http://lenta.inform.kz/

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