Transit flights should be redirected to Kapshagai airport

13 февраля 2013, 15:18

Chairman of Kazakhstan Air Carriers Associations Vladimir Kuropatenko expressed his opinion about moving Almaty airport outside the city, reports.

The expert does not see any practicability in moving Almaty airport a little way outside the city, mostly because of the fogs that are frequent in the area.

The issue of moving has been widely discussed after the recent crush of a passenger Bombardier plane near the airport. Fogs are the airport's greatest problem.

But the problem is not a new one. A commission on moving the Almaty airport outside the city was formed back in the beginning of the 1990s. It studied 9 possible locations and found that Chemolgan station would be the best location for this purpose. However, the project required a lot of funds, new roads and communications. Since Kazakhstan was not thriving on money back then the experts decided it was impractical to move the airport.

"A commission on moving the Almaty airport outside the city was created in the 1990s. We were working for about 7 or 8 months. We calculated the expenses, made a feasibility study and reported to the government that it was not feasible to move the airport at that point. We proposed to unload it as a temporary measure, redirect the transit, expand the existing airport and set up a reserve one," Kuropatenko said.

Vladimir Kuropatenko. Photo courtesy of

Vladimir Kuropatenko. Photo courtesy of

Vladimir Kuropatenko believes it necessary to complete the project of construction of a full-scale airport in Kapshagai area 93km from Almaty. The Kapshagai area was also among the spots considered in 1990s. Some of the construction works were started back in the 1990s, but were later suspended because of insufficient financing. According to the expert, all transit flights that do not require unloading passengers to Almaty city could be redirected to this airport.

According to Kuropatenko the land lot set aside for the reserve airport is no idle no. At some point it had the gravel and sand mix and a spal layers put in place. Exterior water diversions was also constructed. Some boulder blasting was done. The airport already has a map of airways and a basic runway strip.

"The land lot was registered, 282 hectares. We had agreements with the designers and land surveyors, and calculated all the costs. Changes are being introduced into the old project. But everything costs money. This airport could be used as a reserve and transit one. There would be less fogs. All this would unload the existing airport (in Almaty) as it is practically impossible to expand it here," he said. "Everything is ready, everything is in place. Give us the funding and I will be responsible for every coin."

According to estimates, taking the airport outside of Almaty will cost the state budget around 700 million Euro.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Regional Manager for Kazakhstan and Central Asia Dennis Ruiter told that Almaty airport reached its maximum capacity, especially in the peak hours.

"Considering the country's development in general and the expected economy growth, the airport needs to be expanded to maintain or improve the quality and level of the services," the expert stressed. Air business is very demanding not only it terms of servicing airlines, but in terms of servicing passengers, too, as they are becoming more and more demanding. People travel around the world and can compare the offered services.

"We can already see the improvement on the technical side. For example, this year Almaty airport introduced a new landing management system that helps cut flight delays related to limited visibility". However, according to him, such issues as limited gates number still make further airport's development difficult. "in this relation, I suppose there are ways for improvement," he said.

Speaking of the possibility of moving the airport to another place, the manager said that he did not consider moving the airport a real solution, as the current location of Almaty airport gives enough possibilities for the airport growth and for meeting the new demands and challenges.

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