ON AIR & GROUND

Kazakhstan 2016 | TRANSPORT | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Claude Badan, General Director of Airport Management Group, on aviation safety, the Shymkent airport project, and long-term development of the country's airports.

Claude Badan
BIOGRAPHY
Claude Badan is an international manager with extensive experience in management work in countries like Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Bulgaria, and Finland. He has demonstrated brilliant skills in the organization, development, and formation of companies such as Swissport Algeria, Swissport Bulgaria, and Swissport Finland. On February 3, 2014, Badan was appointed General Director and Chairman of the Board of LLP Airport Management Group, which is the managing company of public airports.

What are the landmark achievements of Airport Management Group since the start of operations in Kazakhstan?

In 2015, AMG attracted two well-known leaders in ground services, Swissport and Gate Gourmet, to the company. Since October 2015, these companies have started to provide services at the capital airport, in accordance with international norms and standards. Attracting international companies will contribute to the development of Astana airport as a major transport hub, as well as the formation of a positive image of the capital of Kazakhstan and the World Financial Center. One of the priority goals of the company is the aviation security management system and flight safety implementation. AMG took the initiative and now there are 12 manuals being introduced, with instructions and technologies regarding aviation security and flight safety in accordance with international standards. Previously, there were no such documents. AMG experts are also working to improve the legal framework related to issues of further development of airport activity. The company is gradually solving issues regarding improvement of the quality of the facilities, the transfer of best practices, standards, and technologies, including aviation safety management systems and quality control programs, in accordance with ICAO international standards

By 2020, investment in airports in Kazakhstan will amount to KZT167 billion. What will these investments entail?

It is clear that investments are necessary to provide compliance with national and international standards of quality and safety, and to provide expected growth of air traffic in state airports. We are planning a few construction projects, such as a new passenger terminal at Astana and the reconstruction of the runway, and the installation of lighting equipment at Petropavlovsk. In addition, there will be runway reconstruction at Kostanay airport, the construction of new passenger and cargo terminals at Shymkent, and the construction of a new passenger terminal at Kyzylorda airport.

How is Shymkent's airport project progressing?

In line with the project plan, the new terminal will be integrated with railway and bus stations as well as a transport logistics center, which is going to be commissioned presently. In Kazakhstan, such a model of airport development will be used for the first time. The implementation of this project will be divided into two stages. The first stage will be the construction of a new passenger terminal of 18,000sqm in area, and a capacity of 600 passengers per hour. The second stage will involve the expansion of the terminal by 16,000sqm more, which will allow for a capacity of up to 1,200 passengers every hour. As a result, passenger traffic at the new terminal may reach 3 million per year by 2030. The creation of an air hub in this region and the improvement of city's infrastructure will positively impact development of the economy and social spheres, as well as the south region of the country in general.

How do you assess the future of the aviation sector in Kazakhstan?

Global demand for air transport is growing steadily, especially in “developing markets” such as China and Southeast Asia. The location of Kazakhstan in between the major trading partners of China and the EU dictates the main challenge for the development of a transport-logistics system in the country. At the same time, it is expected that, with the development of the economy, air travel will become increasingly preferred. According to a forecast from Lufthansa Consulting, passenger traffic at the 11 holding airports in 2030 will stand at 22.6 million passengers. With stable growth of the aviation industry, airports should be ready to serve increased number of passengers, baggage, and cargo. It is necessary to pay more attention to international standards of airport services, safety, and security. Based on these goals, in international practice, some airports are combined in holdings for optimal use of infrastructure, special equipment, and the use of common servicing standards. Such holdings already exist in many countries, for example in Russia, Poland, Estonia, Germany, England, and Malaysia.