Tag Archives: plane crash

Kazakh military plane crashes, four people are killed

ALMATY/MARCH 13 (The Bulletin) — A  Kazakh military plane crashed at Almaty airport, killing four people, the second deadly plane crash in Kazakhstan in the past 15 months.

Kazakhstan’s emergencies ministry said the plane, a Soviet-designed AN-26, was travelling to Almaty from Nur Sultan, the capital, and crashed in foggy conditions.

“On March 13 at 1725, information was received from the dispatch service of the Almaty airport that at 1722 a military plane AN-26 disappeared from the radars by the Nur-Sultan – Almaty route and made an emergency landing at the airport in Almaty,” the emergencies ministry said in its statement. “According to preliminary data, four people died, two injured were sent to the city clinical hospital No. 4 in Almaty.”

Russian media said that the plane had been operated by the Kazakh border guards and there there were six crew members on board but no passengers.

Kazakhstan has a dubious aviation safety record. On Dec. 26 2019, a Bek Air passenger plane crashed shortly after taking off from Almaty airport, killing 12 people. Seven years earlier, in December 2012, another plane operated by the Kazakh border guards service crashed near Shymkent, killing all 27 people on board.

The AN-26, first manufactured in 1969, is the workhorse of many former Soviet military plane fleets. Until 10 years ago, or so, commercial airlines also flew AN-26s, although most have withdrawn them on safety and reliability concerns.


— This story was published in issue 475 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin, on March 15 2021

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021

Kazakh pilot makes emergency landing on road

FEB. 8 2021 (The Bulletin) — A Kazakh pilot made an emergency landing with his single-engine biplane on a road in east Kazakhstan. Media reported that the pilot made the emergency landing on the road near Ust-Kamenogorsk after power in the single-engine of his An-2 plane failed. There were three crew and two medical staff on the flight. Nobody was injured. An-2 were mass-produced by the Soviet Union after WW2 and are known for their durability.


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

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2021

Comment: Kazakhstan needs to improve oversight of its aviation sector

— The crash of Bek Air flight 2100 is a tragedy that would have been avoided with better industry oversight. The government should now prioritise this, writes Paolo Sorbello.

JAN. 13 2020 (The Bulletin) — Early on Dec. 27, a Bek Air passenger plane flying from Almaty to Nur-Sultan crashed into a building just seconds after taking off. This tragedy shocked Kazakhstan, 12 of the 102 people on board were killed, but it was an accident waiting to happen.

Owned by Nurbol Sultan, one of Kazakhstan’s richest men, Bek Air is a low-cost airline in Kazakhstan and does not hold a licence to fly abroad. In 2016, Bek Air became the only Kazakh aviation company to refuse to take the IOSA, a safety audit by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). It said the cost of taking the safety test was prohibitive but this line of reasoning was dismissed by other local airlines, who said the cost of the audit was a fraction of the price of a ticket.

Other passenger airlines in Kazakhstan, Air Astana, SCAT, and Qazaq Air, are registered with the IATA. FlyArystan, the low-cost division of Air Astana that was established in 2019, flies on Air Astana’s Airline Operator Certificate (AOC) and is therefore also a full member of the IATA.

The Kazakh aviation market is price sensitive and this is where Bek Air was competitive. Its tickets between Almaty and Nur Sultan had generally been cheaper than Air Astana’s, the flagship Kazakh airline. Fares on FlyArystan, though, were comparable to those of Bek Air.

One European pilot explained why the Bek Air flights were cheap: “The difference in pricing is the missing zeal in maintenance and safety checks.”

After the crash, infrastructure minister Roman Sklyar admitted that “Bek Air and others have the right to fly in Kazakhstan because local standards are not the same as IOSA”. This is a worrying shortfall that needs correcting.

We are still waiting for the full results of the investigation but even so, the government’s response has been timid. Bek Air’s licence was stripped indefinitely. Sklyar could have said the government would work to bring airlines up to standard but he didn’t and this is an opportunity missed.

Passenger airlines in Kazakhstan should be held accountable to international standards whichever the route they fly. Some flight routes across Kazakhstan last three hours, longer than most flights in Europe.

The Kazakh government has to make sure that it shows that it can learn from this crash and improve oversight of its aviation industry. This is the least that can be done in the memory of those killed in Bek Air flight 2100.

–Paolo Sorbello if a journalist and analyst based in Almaty


— This story was first published in issue 433 of the weekly Bulletin on Jan. 13 2020

— Copyright owned by the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin


Passenger plane crashes in Kazakhstan, killing 12 people

DEC. 27 2019 (The Bulletin) — A Bek Air Fokker-100 passenger plane that crashed shortly after taking off from Almaty. Of the 98 people on board the flight, 12 died.

— This story was first published in issue 432 of the weekly Bulletin on Dec. 27 2019

Copyright owned by the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin

Plane from Bishkek crashes in Iran

JAN. 14 (The Conway Bulletin) — A military cargo plane, initially said to have originated from Bishkek, crashed on landing in Iran killing at least 15 people. Both the Iran and Kyrgyzstan denied that the plane belonged to their militaries and some reports said that the plane was an internal Iran flight. The crash did raise questions by some analysts as to just how developed Iran-Kyrgyzstan relations have become over the past few years.

>>This story was first published in issue 397 of The Conway Bulletin on Jan. 20 2019

People report looting at plane crash site in Kyrgyzstan

FEB. 1 2017 (The Conway Bulletin) — Reports have appeared in Kyrgyz media that a cargo plane which crashed into a village next to Manas airport last month was carrying iphones and other electronic equipment in a smuggling operation based at the airport. Eyewitnesses also told the RFE/RL website that some of the first members of the emergency services looted the crash site. “One policeman took off his shirt and filled it with mobile phones,” RFE/RL quoted a young boy as saying.


Copyright ©The Conway Bulletin — all rights reserved

(News report from Issue No. 315, published on Feb. 3 2017)

African helicopter crash injures Georgians

FEB. 1 2017 (The Conway Bulletin) — Two Soviet-era Mi-24 military helicopters crewed by Georgians and Belarusians collided on the border of Rwanda and Uganda, media reported. The Georgian ministry of defence said that the Georgian crew were working privately and were not employees of the Georgian military. It’s unclear how serious the crews’ injuries are. The incident does highlight the use of contractors from Georgia and other parts of the former Soviet Union who were trained to fly Soviet planes and helicopters.

FEB. 3 2017 (The Conway Bulletin) —


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(News report from Issue No. 315, published on Feb. 3 2017)

Aeroplane crashes into village near Kyrgyz capital, kills 38

BISHKEK, JAN. 16 2017 (The Conway Bulletin)  — A Turkish cargo aeroplane flying from Hong Kong to Istanbul overshot the runway at Manas International Airport outside Bishkek on a refuelling stop, ploughed into a village and killed at least 38 people.

Crash investigators said fog had shrouded the airport but there had been no problems reported from the flight deck.

Airports in Central Asia are competing for lucrative stop-over trade for flights, both passenger and cargo, between East Asia and Europe. Depending on the investigators’ findings, the crash may damage Manas’ credibility.

At the crash site, the village of Dacha-Suu, which took the main impact, had been destroyed. The aeroplane’s torn wing stuck up through a smashed roof. The cockpit lay smashed and broken in a front garden. Part of the undercarriage had ripped through a living room, bringing death and destruction to Kyrgyz domestic tranquility.

Residents of the village who escaped described a loud bang.

“I thought there was an earthquake, but looking out of the window, we saw the fire,” one man told television news.

A Conway Bulletin correspondent said that the military and the police had cordoned off the site.

There has also been criticism of the government’s response with many Kyrgyz saying that President Almazbek Atambayev was too slow to show his grief over what is being treated as a national disaster.


Copyright ©The Conway Bulletin — all rights reserved

(News report from Issue No. 313, published on Jan. 20 2017)

Azerbaijani cargo plane crashes

MAY 19 2016 (The Conway Bulletin) – An Antonov-12 cargo plane operated by Azerbaijan’s Silk Way Airlines crashed on take-off at Dwyer airport in south Afghanistan on Wednesday evening, media reported. Seven of the nine crew members were killed in the crash. The authorities later identified the dead as the Uzbek pilot, five Azerbaijani crew members and one Ukrainian technician. Two Ukrainians survived.


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(News report from Issue No. 281, published on May 20 2016)

Kazakh plane crash-lands

MARCH 30 2016 (The Conway Bulletin) – A Bek Air Fokker plane carrying 116 passengers crash-landed at Astana airport, raising safety and security concerns for Kazakh aviation. Pilot Dmitri Rodin was hailed a hero after he performed a near textbook crash-landing after his front landing gear failed to engage as he approached Astana airport. Everybody aboard emerged unscathed from the crash.


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(News report from Issue No. 274, published on April 1 2016)