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Why Air Astana against new terminal at Almaty International Airport?

16/05/2017 15:38

On Monday, May 15, the leaders of Almaty International Airport (AIA) met with Kazakh journalists and talked about the problematic and prospective issues of the company’s development.

President Aibol Bekmukhambetov briefly summarized the results of the previous year: the Almaty International Airporthas confidently consolidated the status of the largest airport in Kazakhstan and Central Asia, servicing 4.8 million passengers in 2016. This year, it is planned to serve more than 5.5 million passengers, or an average of 160 aircraft departures per day. Annually, this airport pays over KZT 3 billion of taxes, following the results of 2016, the airport earned about KZT 2.5 billion net profit.

Today, work is underway on the construction of a new building for the catering department, a VIP terminal for business aviation. Reconstruction of one of the two runways will be completed in November 2017, after which the capacity of the airport will increase from 13 to 20 takeoff and landing operations per hour. According to Mr. Bekmukhambetov, the airport is among the Top-10 CIS airports in terms of performance indicators; for the second year in a row, the airport is among the Top-100 airports in the world, as regards its economic indicators.

- Along with the positive aspects of our work there are shortcomings. We daily monitor Internet portals, press, we meet with representatives of airlines. We are aware of all the complaints and censures raised in our address and are trying to resolve the shortcomings in hot pursuit, - Mr. Bekmukhambetov assured. - Most of the negative comments are due to shortcomings in public catering, private transport, and limited terminal areas. Today we are actively working on these issues. And we hope to restore order here.

So, for example, to solve problems with taxi drivers sticking to passengers, the airport attracted three official taxi services. In other matters, it only helped in part - over time, some drivers of "officials" began to harass the arrivals. And even there were cases when the drivers of these taxi parks deliberately drove the representatives of the airport security service to their feet.

Now the airport will be replaced by a parking place for official taxis. And at the exit from the building, as in other large airports in the world, there will be a coordinator with a whistle. He will regulate the movement of taxis, which will now drive up and serve passengers on a first-come first-serve basis.

As for the sore topic – the prices in the airport cafes – then the leadership spread its hands and once again stressed that it can not influence pricing in the public catering. Moreover, some of the squares at the airport were bought back into private ownership a long time ago.

The airport loading problem was also raised. The leaders told: according to calculations, the air harbour can serve about 14 million passengers a year, and therefore is now loaded by only 30%. Another thing is that because of the uneven distribution of flights during the day, during some hours (at night and in the morning) there is a pandemonium, and at some airports it is empty. And there's nothing to be done – it’s so convenient for airlines to fly.

From here journalists had a question: why the airport does not finish the already erected skeleton of the new terminal?

- We completed the unconfined terminal in 2010, when our team arrived at the airport, - said the first vice-president of this airport Koblandy Tumyshev. - The fact is that the previous airport management, when it decided to build this terminal, designed it as a building for international flights. And the existing terminal was supposed to be left for domestic flights. With this concept, in the end, they did not agree with Air Astana.

The fact is that this airline has the same aircraft used for domestic flights, as well as for international flights. And, for example, their plane will fly from Aktobe, and in an hour and a half it needs to fly to Beijing. So, the plane will have to be relocated from one terminal to another. For this, the liner will need to cross two running runways. That is, the airport infrastructure, which will be used by Air Astana, will be on one side of the runway, and the new terminal on the other. The President of Air Astana Peter Foster called this situation “a catastrophe”. He gave an example: some airports in the world, for example, Manila and Bombay, were in the same situation and still can not recover and get their work done, because their runways are interfering.

According to the speaker, a few years ago the airport hired a German design company that conducted an audit of the unfinished terminal. Foreign experts came to the conclusion: it is better to demolish the unfinished building and on it to build a combined terminal at once with international and domestic departures. It would be much more convenient for both the national air carrier and other airlines.

But why does the airport not undertake a new construction?

- In item 66 of the message of the President’s “100 Steps” paper, it is told about construction of the new airport near to Almaty. And this “near” does not yet allow us to expand. Why? The matter is that there were already people fromSingapore, Korea and Qatar wishing to build a new airport from scratch (under Kapchagai or in Zhetygen), but on the condition that the existing one would be closed. If this happens, what is the use of expanding the existing terminal? Mr. Tumyshev asked. – Let’s say we spend US $ 120 million on this, and next year the Government will start building a new airport. Hence, our investments will not pay off and will go nowhere. And businessmen do not do that. Therefore, we are waiting for the Government to put an end to this issue.

On the other hand, the speaker said, the expansion of the existing airport will inevitably lead to a rise in the cost of airport services, and, consequently, air tickets.

- The new outbuilding will have to be heated, illuminated, and conditioned. It is necessary to pay for all of this. Another big question is that whether all passengers will agree with this”, the speaker concluded.

Source -

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News on this topic:

 11/07/2017 22:43   Peter Foster: “We do not get any subsidies or guarantees from either the state or the shareholders”
Aviation in press
 07/07/2017 14:04   Tashkent – Issyk-Kul flight: well started, but…
Aviation in press
 05/07/2017 14:45   Tajikistan closes from Yamal Airlines – Dushanbe does not want to see Russian airline in Tajikistan
Aviation in press
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