Tag Archives: aviation

Russian airport operator eyes up Central Asia

JUNE 7 2021 (The Bulletin) — Russian regional airport operator Novaport is still interested in signing deals with airports in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan despite the drop in footfall caused by the pandemic, billionaire owner Roman Trotsenko told Russian media. He said that he expects auctions to run airports, including the airport at Nur Sultan, to come up in 2020. Turkey’s TAV signed a deal in May to buy Almaty airport and has also said it will invest in Uzbek airports.

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— This story was published in issue 487 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, on June 9 2021

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021

Germany’s Eurowings to start flying to Tbilisi

JUNE 5 2021 (The Bulletin) — Eurowings, the low-cost airline owned by Germany’s Lufthansa, will start weekly flights from Dusseldorf to Tbilisi from July. There has been a boom in flights to Georgia over the past few years, driven mainly by tourism, led by Hungary’s Wizz Air which set up a base in Kutaisi in 2016. Seasonal workers have also pushed up demand for flights to Europe from Georgia. This year Germany has invited thousands of Georgians to pick fruit at its farms.

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— This story was published in issue 487 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, on June 9 2021

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021

India creates coronavirus air corridor with Uzbekistan

MARCH 5 2021 (The Bulletin) — In what some analysts have described as a case of coronavirus realpolitik, India added Uzbekistan to a so-called ‘air bubble’ that allows Indians to travel to other countries with only limited restrictions. India has now set up ‘air bubbles’ with 27 countries. It is trying to build up influence in Central Asia and sees Uzbekistan as its best route.

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— This story was published in issue 474 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, on March 5 2021

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021

WizzAir says that it is still too early to resume post-pandemic Kutaisi operations

MARCH 4 2021 (The Bulletin) — WizzAir, the Hungarian low-cost airline, said that although the coronavirus pandemic is easing, it is still too early to say when it will resume flights from Kutaisi in Georgia. WizzAir started flying from Kutaisi in 2012 and had turned it into a major hub linking Georgia to Europe. At its peak in 2019, WizzAir had flown to 39 destinations from Kutaisi.

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— This story was published in issue 474 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, on March 5 2021

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021

Azebaijan’s Buta Airways to start flying to Tbilisi

MARCH 1 2021 (The Bulletin) — Buta Airways, the government-owned Azerbaijani low cost airline, said that it would resume its flight schedule between Baku and Tbilisi on March 19, an important step towards normalising aviation routes in the South Caucasus. AZAL, the Azerbaijani flag carrier, set up Buta Airways in Sept. 2017 to fly mainly to Turkey and Russia.

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— This story was published in issue 474 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, on March 5 2021

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021

Kazakhstan’s Scat Air agrees deal to fly to Ras Al Khaimah

FEB. 3 2021 (The Bulletin) — Scat Air, a private Kazakh airline based in Shymkent, will start flying to Ras Al Khaimah under an agreement signed with the UAE state’s tourism development authority. Under the deal, Scat Air will, from March, fly directly to Ras Al Khaimah from Nur-Sultan, Almaty, Aktobe, Aktau, Atyrau, Uralsk, Karaganda and Shymkent. The terms of the deal have not been revealed. Ras Al Khaimah has said that it is on a major tourism push.

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— This story was first published in issue 471 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021

Georgia to lift ban on international flights from Feb. 1

JAN. 22 2021 (The Bulletin) — Georgia will lift a ban on international flights, imposed to try to reduce the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, from Feb. 1, media quoted Georgian economy minister Natia Turnava as saying. Tourism has become a major part of the Georgian economy over the decade and the banning of flights into Georgia for a year has hit it hard. Georgia has started to slowly lift its strict coronavirus restrictions.

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— This story was first published in issue 469 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021

Turkmenistan Airlines to lease first Boeing cargo jet

JUNE 22 (The Bulletin) — Turkmenistan Airlines will lease its first Boeing 777F, a cargo plane. Media reported that the deal will cost Turkmenistan Airlines an estimated $352m to lease the aircraft from Frankfurt-based Aircraft Finance Germany. The high cost highlights the growing importance of the Europe-Asia cargo business that airlines in Central Asia are competing for.

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— This story was first published in issue 451 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, published on June 23 2020

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2020

Turkish Airlines to restart flying to the region

JUNE 22 (The Bulletin) — Turkish Airlines, a vital service into both Central Asia and the South Caucasus, said that it was going to restart most of its routes from July 1. Like the rest of the aviation sector Turkish Airlines had stopped its routes when the coronavirus was spreading across the globe and governments were imposing lockdowns.

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— This story was first published in issue 451 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, published on June 23 2020

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2020

Uzbekistan to open up regional airports to foreign airlines

TASHKENT/JUNE 18 (The Bulletin) — Uzbekistan will allow foreign airlines to land at all its regional airports from Aug. 1, a move that it hopes will boost the country’s prospects as the preferred stopover for Europe-Asia air travel.

The route has become increasingly lucrative since China started to push its Belt and Road Initiative and is hotly contested between the Central Asian countries.

Uzbek officials said that they would trial the increased access to its airports for foreign airlines under what it dubbed its “Open Skies” policy. 

“Open Skies at the regional airports of Uzbekistan will be introduced using the fifth air freedom, which allows unloading and taking on board passengers, mail and cargo from or to the third country on the territory of the partner country,” media quoted Uzbekistan’s aviation authorities as saying.

The UN’s Fifth Air Freedom referenced by Uzbek officials allows airlines to stop at airports in third countries to pick up and offload passengers and cargo. Uzbekistan introduced this freedom at its main international airport at Tashkent in 2018. 

Like its neighbours, Uzbekistan has been trying to lure airlines to its airports. This year it also said that it would cut ground handling and refuelling fees. 

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— This story was first published in issue 451 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin on June 23 2020

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2020