Azerbaijan-Kazakhstan develops air bond

By: Nigar Orujova

Kazakhstan plans to develop its transport relations with Azerbaijan, said Amangeldy Zhumabayev, Kazakh Ambassador to Azerbaijan on March 16.

The diplomat made the remark at the event where Kazakh flag carrier Air Astana Company presented its plans for Azerbaijan. The company which has operated flights for 12 years, covers over 60 international and regional destinations. The air park of Air Astana consists of 30 western-made aircrafts with average exploitable age of 5.7 years.

“Air Astana is one of the most prestigious companies of the region,” Zhumabayev noted. The company has always strived to develop its operational reach, opening new destinations every year.

“Baku is of a special interest for the company,” the ambassador believes, as of historic ties as well as developing business relations.

“Both Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan plan to become the largest transit hubs,” he said.

He noted the Silk Road project through Kazakhstan and the Caucasus will enable the transit of goods from China to Europe in 12-15 days, while currently it takes 30-45 days by sea.

“Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey are interested in developing such methods of transportation,” he added. Azerbaijan is now finalizing Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project and the construction of a large seaport near Baku.

“This will help develop business and air communications,” he said, as Azerbaijan is developing its air transportations by the opening of a brand new airport.

Zhumabayev noted that Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev will visit Azerbaijan later on this year to discuss the transit issue.

“Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey are now preparing intergovernmental agreements on transit that will presuppose each country to undertake a commitment on tariffs and delivery period,” the ambassador said. These four states will create a mutual company to maintain the commitment.

Air Astana offers convenient connections

The event was attended by Yerbol Ospanov, the senior vice president of Air Astana on government, legislative issues and security, Serik Rys-uly, the sales director in CIS, and Bella Tormysheva, the vice president on Corporate Communications.

Serik Rys-uly presented a new program of the company “Stop Over Holidays”, that is designed for international transit passengers, traveling via Astana and Almaty, which may be suitable for Azerbaijanis.

The Stop Over package include hotel accommodation, breakfast, return airport transfer, free SIM-card, various excursion, and special bonuses in Astana and Almaty’s best restaurants . The offer is available every day with no minimum group size.

“The firm partnership and friendship relations have been established between the Air Company and Azerbaijan,” Rys-uly said. The company has transferred 46,869 passengers in Almaty-Baku and Astana-Baku destinations in 2014.

“Today, Air Astana, famous for its accuracy, is hoping to develop further cooperation suggesting suitable connections while traveling to Bangkok, Beijing, Kuala-Lumpur, Seoul, Urumqi and Bishkek,” Rys-uly added.

The Kazakh carrier was already credited for being the best airline company of Central Asia and India three times. It has a four stars rating according to Skytrax agency and leads aviation market in 2015 according to Air Transport World.

Almaty-Baku flights started as a seasonal charter flights provider in 2009. Astana-Baku flight was launched due to the increase in demand among business in 2012.

At present, the company performs three flights from Astana and three from Almaty. During the spring-summer period, Air Astana plans to increase the number of flights up to eight in a week.

SOURCE: Azer News