Kazakhstan to gain national cargo carrier in 2017

Written by: Felicity Stredder |
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Air Astana and national rail operator Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ) have announced plans to collaborate to form a new airfreight carrier before the end of 2017.

Kazakhstan’s Minister for Investment and Development, Alik Aidarbayev, announced the move at a press conference held in Astana.

The as-yet-unnamed co-operation will reportedly be kicked off with two freighters. It has not yet been disclosed what aircraft will be used and whether they will be bought or leased.

Until now, a lack of main deck capacity by local Kazakh carriers has meant that the majority of air freight consignments have been brought into the country by foreign cargo airlines. The new cargo JV is an important and long overdue development for the Asian country, therefore, in its efforts to replace foreign transport services and manage the flow of cargo itself, where possible.

The move will be facilitated by the fact that both Air Astana and KTZ belong to the same shareholder, Kazakhstan National Welfare Fund, Samruk-Kazyna. KTZ is a wholly-owned subsidiary while the fund owns a 51% share in Air Astana.

The launch of a national freight carrier is part of Kazakhstan’s bigger objective to become a hub for trans-Eurasian transport and trade.

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