UPPING THE VOLUME
Travel volume is increasing in double-digit terms every year. Kazakhstan’s air travel market was hit very hard during the recession, though we are now reaching pre-crisis levels again. We have seen a massive jump in 2010 compared to previous years.
There is seasonality in the Kazakhstani air travel market. The winter months see less travel, while the main travel period is between May and October. We focus on business/corporate travelers, but of course we are trying to develop other leisure and educational traffic volumes as well.
We solely use e-tickets. Technically, Kazakhstan is already a very advanced nation. Internet usage is flourishing, yet there is still room to grow when you compare the figures from here to those in Europe.
DICK VAN BIEUWENHUYZEN
When I first took this position, the majority of passengers were flying out of Almaty. However, now the oil and gas segments are developing, there is an influx of passengers from west Kazakhstan.
A TYPICAL PROFILE
We see a high level of small entrepreneurs and SME owners travelling on our flights. For example, many travel to Europe to purchase anything from automobiles, to wine, and other products.
E-sales will only grow. I find it remarkable how e-commerce is developing in this country, Russia, and the rest of the CIS. Next year it is expected that 41% of the population will be using the internet.
Etihad Airways launched services between Abu Dhabi and Almaty in December 2008. Since then, commercial ties between the UAE and Kazakhstan have been significantly strengthened, with several major investment projects being announced in that period.
It’s a competitive market out there, but we’re aiming to strengthen our cargo operations. We’ll do this by optimizing cargo capacity on our Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft, which currently operate the routes to and from Kazakhstan.
Currently, 59% of our passengers from Kazakhstan connect onward through Abu Dhabi. Those top five final destinations are Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Bangkok, Jeddah, and Johannesburg.
Kazakhstan and Turkey have close ties and relations historically. Of course, commercially Astana and Almaty are among our top destinations in the network.
In our network in Kazakhstan, we have more than 70 IATA travel agencies and also their branch offices all around the country. Agencies are so merged with airlines and aviation business, there is no way to continue this business without them. We are always in cooperation with them and support each other to be able to move aviation in Kazakhstan forward.
Kazakhstan is the shining star of the world economy and business. And aviation is not an exception. Parallel to the country’s growing economy, Turkish Airlines aims to fly more and more to be able to give a better service to the Kazakhstani nation.
Compared to other former-Soviet states, Kazakhstan has performed well in regard to upgrading its fleets and infrastructure thanks to the President’s policies and the establishment of the national air carrier.
Almaty Airport is a private, joint-stock company. We are devoted to the operation of this facility. In terms of its financing, its yearly budget is KZT40 billion, whereas Astana’s is KZT10 billion, Atyrau’s is KZT2.5 billion, and Aktobe’s is KZT1 billion.
The airport is now investing in its transportation fleet and special equipment. More buses are being purchased to increase the fluidity of the facility. We also plan to bring back to life the Aviation Technical Center… [and] upgrade our freight and cargo terminal, and integrate each facility in order to make a comfortable, aesthetic airport.
© The Business Year