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Nur-Sultan hosts Routes Silk Road 2019

The Forum is in line with the national program for tourism development as the government sets out to liberate the aviation market and to develop a hub in Kazakhstan.

According a director Erlan Bekmurzaev of the Investment and Entrepreneurship Development Office in Nur-Sultan, the capital has all the necessary infrastructure and preconditions of a tourist attraction center.

 “On our part, we [the Investment and Entrepreneurship Development Office] intend to double the tourist flow by 2025, with the current figure of 800 thousand tourists. During the Expo times, the 3rd and 4th freedoms of the air were granted above the city, which, in my opinion, is positive. We hope the Forum will be a right platform contributing to new destinations between the [Kazakh] capital and other cities as well as will positively impact on investment inflow and tourism development,” he said.

Steven Small, the Brand Director at Routes, drew attention to the background of Routes and air service development forums it organises.

Routes is part of the Informa, the large organizer of business events in the world, operating in Manchester, the UK, and has been holding Routes events for over the last 25 years.

“Our Forum is at the heart of the air route development community, providing a meeting place for representatives of airlines, airports and destinations for negotiating future air services,” he said.

The Routes event occurs every year in different cities to provide members of aviation with first-hand experiences of what an airport and its destinations have passed on. It operates on a hosting model with airports and destinations beating to host the event.

“Routes attracts real decision makers in the aviation industry, including ministers, CEOs of both airlines and airports, key associations, civil aviation authorities to discuss a future of air services,” he told.

He recited the independent consultants’ study that indicates the countries once held Routes events experience more rapid growth in their route networks compared to their close competitors.  

Chairman Talgat Lastaev of Kazakhstan’s Civil Aviation Committee extended full support to the event on behalf of the aviation authority.

“Being situated on the Great Silk Road, we are destined to develop the transit potential, including air transport. Speaking of numbers, the measures to develop transit and passenger flow are under way, while over the last 7-8 years the passenger flow in Kazakhstan has soured by 20 times from 20 thousand passengers in the beginning to 900 thousand passengers in last year,” he says.

As of today, Kazakhstan has turned to the policy of gradual liberalization, with many foreign companies launching flights to the country. 27 countries run over 500 flights each week through 98 air routes.

This year the destinations such as Prague, Ulaanbaatar and Tokyo have been launched; flights to Shanghai, Singapore are mapped out. All this could benefit tourism as well as the formation of the Astana International Financial Center.

Speaking of Nursultan Nazarbayev International Airport, Mr Talgat Lastaev told that the open sky regime was introduced in Nur-Sultan, emphasizing a great focus on security.

In the next month, a new body applying the best experiences of the European model of flight security regulation and the British model will start to function. Kazakhstan for the first time rolls out the approaches where control and supervision in civil aviation and flight security rest with the special body only – the national company named the Civil Aviation Administration of Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan takes the leading position in the region with 83% in aviation security and 74% in flight security.

Kazakhstan recently started off the first national low-cost airline; over 200 thousand passengers have been transported so far, with half using tariffs under 10 thousand tenge. According to the Chairman of Kazakhstan’s Civil Aviation Committee, the airline has a goal to exceed one million passengers by the end of the year.

Jordan Karamalakov, Country Manager for Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in IATA, told that they in IATA consider the event as the opportunity to display the participation of aviation in the One Belt, One Road process.

“Take a look at China's One Belt, One Road initiative, supported by the Presidents of Eurasian countries. It is about railway and motor transport not aviation. However, this Forum has 13 Chinese airlines in attendance, their total fleet including 1600 big transport planes is a proof of aviation’s role in the [One Belt, One Road] project, and that it is of significance in the new silk road development,” he said.

IATA will hold seminars devoted the protection of environment and aviation on the sidelines of the Forum. It will also raise the issues of freight transport which used to be not included in previous Forums.

The International Forum Routes Silk Road 2019 is taking place between 15 and 17 July 2019 in the Kazakh capital of Nur-Sultan aims at opening and developing new international air markets as well as creating a great number of direct air directions, increasing air service, establishing new contracts and exchanging experiences between representatives of airlines, airports and tourist companies. Over 250 guests, including CEOs of airlines and airports, high-profile government officials and representatives of the aviation industry take part in the event.  

Author: Adlet Seilkhanov

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