UIA leaves Kazakhstan. Will tours to Europe go up in price?

Starting from October 27, 2019, Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) will cease to operate direct flights to Kazakhstan. A significant number of tour operators relied on this airline because of the affordable cost of air tickets. Experts told Tengri Travel how foreign travel prices can now change and what alternative routes Kazakhstan residents can take.

It should be noted that UIA stated in its message that flights were suspended due to low profitability, since its planes have to fly around the territory of Russia. Prior to this, a direct flight to Nur Sultan was closed, also due to losses.

In turn, experts from the tourism industry in Kazakhstan do not expect a significant jump in prices. So, according to Elena Bekboeva, the market is ready for change.

“First of all, this is, of course, Aeroflot with its wide air route network and a transfer at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo and Belavia Airlines, Belarus, with a transfer in Minsk. After Air Astana has transferred its flights to Moscow’s Domodedovo International Airport and entered into a code-sharing agreement with S7 Airlines, the flights at fairly reasonable prices of the latter air carrier also become available for us. Let me remind you of Ural Airlines, Russia, with the base airport Zhukovsky near Moscow, which offer very competitive airfares for flights to some European destinations.

Is it a little? Then let’s remember about the ‘big guys’: Turkish Airlines with their new airport in Istanbul and Air Baltic with its budget options through Riga. Supplement the picture of Lufthansa with a number of other European air carriers flying to Astana, and the picture becomes quite optimistic. Yes, UIA’s departure is bad, and many passengers who bought their air tickets in advance are now in an extremely controversial situation, but in general the market is ready for these changes, and we will continue to fly to Europe, despite the departure of the Ukrainian air carrier,” Elena Bekboeva, owner of the travel company, wrote in her Facebook page.

Rashida Shaikenova, CEO, Kazakhstan Tourism Association (KTA), in turn, notes that tourists will have less choice and opportunity due to UIA leaving.

In particular, she said, “Here we are talking about the fact that consumers do not have the opportunity to choose a more low-cost airline. They will have to agree on the tariffs of the proposed airlines. We see a picture of a narrowing of the possibilities for flights. Despite this, we still have low-cost options like the LOT Polish Airlines and Hungarian Wizz Air.”

In her opinion, the departure of a number of airlines from Kazakhstan is due to the unprofitability of services.

“UIA, as we know, left because of the political situation between Ukraine and Russia. They had to fly around Russia, which led to an increase in flight time, which led to financial costs for jet fuel. For others, there was information that this was expensive service at airports, in particular Almaty and Nur-Sultan. There are also links to the high cost of aviation fuel. All this adds up to the picture when, due to high costs, flights become unprofitable for large airlines,” she added.

Meanwhile, when speaking at the Kazakh Government meeting, the Minister of Industry and Infrastructure Development of Kazakhstan Beibut Atamkulov said that new players will come to Kazakhstan and old partners will return. These are Qatar Airways (Doha, 2020), Emirates (Dubai, 2021), China Eastern (Shanghai, 2021), Ural Airlines, Pobeda Airlines and others. The Minister also said that flights to Shanghai and Singapore will appear in 2020, and to New York – in 2021.

Source – https://tengritravel.kz/

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