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Kazakhstan is not getting low-cost airlines any time soon: Ministry of Transport 07 июня 2014, 14:39

Low-cost airlines are not likely to emerge in Kazakhstan until there is intense competition between airports of nearby cities.
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Low-cost airlines are not likely to emerge in Kazakhstan until there is intense competition between the airports of nearby cities and airports start providing high-quality maintenance of aircrafts, Tengrinews reports. The Ministry of Transport and Communications of Kazakhstan has named a number of reasons hampering the emergence of low-cost airlines in the country.

Creation, development and maintenance of a low cost airline requires some preconditions, such as dense population, well-developed airport infrastructure and high demand for air routes.

"These conditions are fully met only in large countries with a large and highly mobile population. For example, there are successful low-cost air carriers in Europe (Ryanair, EasyJet) and the United States (Southwest Airlines). Lack of these conditions in Kazakhstan makes the emergence of low-cost airlines highly improbable," Transport and Communications Ministry said in response to a question from Tengrinews.

Russia and India once attempted to introduce low-cost airlines, but they failed. "Russia tried to launch low-cost air carriers with flights only on the most congested air routes, such as Moscow - Sochi, Moscow - St. Petersburg, but this sent several companies (SkyExpress, Avianova) bankrupt," the Transport and Communications Ministry said.

In February 2014, President of Kazakhstan announced that Kazakhstan was planning to relaunch Air Kazakhstan airline for domestic flights. Air Kazakhstan is not a new company. It went bankrupt in 2004 because of huge debts, so the Ministry of Transport and Communication suggest that the reformed airline could use low-cost flights as a foundation for recovery.

“However, at the current stage it is too early to assert anything. Today, the demand for domestic air routes has not reached the point where traditional carriers can coexist with low cost airlines on the same route," the Ministry said. Certainly, low cost of flights is a huge advantage, but at the same time it has some drawbacks such as low level of service on board, restrictions on free baggage allowance and hand luggage, and a sharp rise in the cost of the ticket 2-3 days before the departure date.

Reporting by Roza Yessenkulova, writing by Assel Satubaldina, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina

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