Foreign airlines hinder operations of Kazakhstan companies: media19 august 2013, 10:50
Aviation authorities of several countries and foreign airlines have been creating difficulties for Kazakhstan airlines, DKnews.kz writes.
The European Union blacklisted all Kazakhstan’s airlines in 2009. At this point many of the owners simply moved their fleet to one of the neighboring countries and continued making the flights. Whereas Kazakhstan had to make a decision “open the sky” to foreign cargo airlines to keep Kazakhstan airports busy. Fight after the decision major airlines increased frequency of flights via Kazakhstan abandoning transit via Russia and Uzbekistan. But shortly after that the said countries offered them good discounts and the airlines went back to the previous routes.
So, Kazakhstan’s “open sky” did not work and turned into a “revolving door” for airlines from different CIS countries (post soviet space). Ukrainian planes are delivering cargos to Kazakhstan from Azerbaijan, Pakistan or Turkey, Russian aircrafts transport loads from China and Turkey to Kazakhstan and from Kazakhstan to Afghanistan and India. Armenian planes are flying from the UAE to Kazakhstan and back. Azerbaijan airlines are taking cargoes even between Kazakhstan cities.
Based on the ICAO third freedom, basic international service is allowed and right to flights from one country to another are provided. However, Kazakhstan's cargo airlines are deprived of the right to make the flights because very strict conditions are set for them.
There was a case when an airplane of one of the local airlines could not take the load to Azerbaijan from China with a stopover in Kazakhstan because the Azerbaijan authorities had set unacceptable condition referring to the fact that the cargo did not originate in Kazakhstan.
Rates are also a leverage used against Kazakhstan airlines. When Kazakhstan aircraft is taking cargoes from Kazakhstan to Azerbaijan their airport applied rates that are 70-80 percent higher than average. The kerosene is also sold at inflated prices.
Russian authorities also limit Kazakhstan aircrafts from delivering cargoes to Russia from other countries and even from Kazakhstan. “Numerous permits are required, including a written waiver from Russian airlines that have similar aircrafts confirming that their refusal to transport the cargo,” the newspaper writes.
All aviation authorities complying with ICAO rules are supposed to control and prevent violations of the level of air space freedom. However, the reality is quite different, the magazine writes: some of the foreign airlines request permission from, for example, Turkish or Chinese authorities to take a bulk of cargo to their home countries, but instead fly to Kazakhstan after taking off. Or they request a permission to deliver cargo to their home country with a stop over in Kazakhstan and simply do not continued anywhere after the stopover. “China and Turkey never issue permit to a foreign airlines to transport goods from their countries to Kazakhstan,” the newspaper writes.
“There are currently only 3-4 airlines in Kazakhstan that perform cargo flights. A lot of pilots lost their jobs after 2009 and technical expertize that took years to study was lost,” the newspaper writes.
However, recently Kazakhstan has started staking steps to change the situation. Kazakhstan has announced an intention to ban foreign airlines from making charter flights from Kazakhstan. The ban will come in the effect on October 1 this year.
According to Kazakhstan Ministry of Transport and Communications, this measure is aimed at providing more guarantees to passengers and ensuring better quality and timeliness of services provided by airlines. According to head of the Airlines Association Vladimir Kuropatenko, Kazakhstan airlines are capable of meeting the market’s needs for chartered flights.
“They should have done it long ago. If there are jobs available, they will take the niches and fly reliable Boeing and Airbus planes. The airlines will lease or rent the aircrafts for this program. In the meantime we don’t have the opportunity. Foreign companies come in, undertake to make the flights then go bankrupt and nobody is held liable,” he said referring to the Turkish carrier Sky Airlines that suddenly went bankrupt in early June this year.
Around 1,000 Kazakhstan citizens could not leave Antalya, Turkey, because of the Turkish air company's bankruptcy .
Transportation of the tourists back to Kazakhstan cost the Kazakhstan government 1 million dollars.