Today we celebrate International Civil Aviation Day as it was decided by UN General Assembly. On this day, we congratulate all workers in the civil aviation industry in Kazakhstan, working people for the prosperity and development of aviation in the country.
In 2020 Kazakhstani airlines performed over 70 repatriation and evacuation flights transported about 11 thousand passengers. Thanks to the efforts of the aviation authorities, as well as the well-coordinated work and professionalism of the crew members, management and employees of the airline and ground services involved in the evacuation, citizens were evacuated from China (Wuhan and Xian), Russia, Georgia and other countries. The civil aviation efforts were made to organize the return of our nationals – students from European countries, Kazakhstani tourists, and citizens who were in transit in foreign countries.
55 humanitarian flights (scheduled and charter) were performed and over 555 tons of cargo were transported such as ventilators, protective masks, suits, express tests, and necessary medicines. All flights were performed under increased sanitary safety measures.
The spread of the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent suspension of flights have unfortunately negatively impacted the statistics in the industry. This year, there is a decline in key indicators – for 10 months of this year, the number of passengers carried by domestic airlines amounted to 4.4 million people, which is 38% less than the same period in 2019 (7.1 million people). The number of passengers served at airports and transit passengers has also decreased. In total, the forecast for this year in global passenger traffic is expected to decline by 60-70%.
As estimated by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the full recovery of traffic flow to the 2019 level will not occur until 2023. IATA also estimates the industry’s revenue loss from reduced passenger traffic in 2020 at $252 billion. The loss of domestic civil aviation organizations amounts to around 356.7 billion tenge.
In order to reduce the loss and prevent bankruptcies of domestic airlines and airports, the Government has adopted a package of measures of state support for tax exemptions, including the establishment of a correction coefficient of “0” to the rates of some taxes, social payments, VAT exemption on imported aircraft parts and for non-resident, exemption from payment for the use of land and land tax and others. The work to minimize the impact of COVID-19 and assist airlines will continue.
At present, consistent measures are being taken to restore air traffic, taking into account the epidemiological situation in the country and the world. Domestic scheduled flights are now fully resumed. There are also international flights to 12 countries (Turkey, Korea, UAE, Belarus, Ukraine, Germany, Netherlands, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Egypt, Russia, and Maldives) with a frequency of 52 flights per week, which is 12% of the total international traffic in the pre-coronavirus period. The aviation authorities are working on further resumption of flights as the situation with the spread of coronavirus improves.
Despite new challenges, in 2020 the civil aviation industry continues to actively work to further systematically improve the level of flight safety and achieve the main goals. The outgoing year was marked by a number of important events for the industry.
Established on August 1, 2019, the Aviation Administration of Kazakhstan reflects a new approach of the government regulation of the industry, based on the model of the British State Civil Aviation Agency (UK CAA) and EASA. From January 1, 2020 up to date, the inspectors Aviation Administration of Kazakhstan performed 43 inspections and 8 certifications of the operator. 6 operators were suspended: Jet Airlines, Jenis Air, Azee Air, Phoenix, Qazaq Helicopters, MS AIR KZ. Certificates of 2 operators were revoked: Bek Air, Sigma Airlines. Aviation Administration performed 240 inspections of aircrafts, issued 79 certificates of state registration of civil aircraft, 145 certificates of airworthiness, 17 certificates of aircraft maintenance and repair. 20 airports were certified and 15 inspections were performed. 2638 state services were rendered for issuing certificates to aviation personnel, 13 state services were rendered to Aviation training centers. The activities of 3 aviation training centers were suspended: Bek Air, ULTUGA and Sky School. 25 inspections and 11 certifications of the airport security service inspection organization were performed for aviation security. 1400 certificates were issued to the crew members.
In 2020, work continued to improve the level of Kazakhstan’s compliance with international civil aviation standards. Kazakhstan has joined the Agreement on Cooperation on the Prevention and Management of Public Health Events in Civil Aviation (CAPSCA). Kazakhstan in the outgoing year also became a member of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction System for International Aviation (CORSIA), voluntarily submitting its first report to ICAO on emissions. The AAK Emission team are now preparing for the mandatory reporting of emissions compliance. For this period AAK inspectors participated in over 40 training sessions.
An important event of the outgoing year was also the interaction of Kazakhstan with the European Commission and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The Civil Aviation Committee, together with the Aviation Administration, provided a full report, following the consideration of which the European Commission decided that today there are no grounds for including Kazakhstani air carriers in the list of air carriers that are ban within the European Union (black list).
On December 2, 2020, the Aviation Director of the European Commission Filip Cornelis, in an official letter to the head of the Aviation Administration of Kazakhstan, noted: ‘The European Commission and the ASC welcomed and took note of the updates provided by the Aviation Administration of Kazakhstan (AAK) on progress made in addressing identified safety deficiencies. This includes enhanced implementation of the safety oversight programme, an overview of AAK’ surveillance activities, plans as regards the recruitment and training of technical personnel, steps taken for the implementation of a quality management system, and the strategic approach to technical development within the context of aviation safety capacity building.
One of the significant achievements, the implementation of which was started even before the coronavirus pandemic, was the change of the three-letter code of the Nursultan Nazarbayev International Airport TSE to NQZ. According to a special IATA notification dated April 6, 2020, the final official decision was made to change the three-letter code of the capital airport. This was preceded by extensive work with the management and experts of IATA to change the organization’s approaches to regulation and change of three-letter airport codes around the world, which has been carried out since 2014. Today passengers can observe the new NQZ code on tickets, baggage tags, and information boards.
In addition to institutional measures, work continued in 2020 to modernize airport infrastructure. Perhaps one of the main achievements in the modern history of the country’s civil aviation was the construction and launch of a new airport in Turkestan. On November 30, Turkestan International Airport received aerodrome certificate for the first time, and on December 1, the first scheduled flight was operated between Turkestan and Nur-Sultan. This is an important regional development and was carried out using a public private partnership.
Despite the difficulties faced by the civil aviation industry this year, the aviation authorities of Kazakhstan are making efforts every day to restore the industry.
The priority direction of development for the coming years remains the consistent improvement of the level of flight safety. AAK has launched a comprehensive four element strategy and has started the communication, and consultation processes, expected of a high-quality state, with the first two launch events with airlines and airports. Work on this will continue into 2021 with additional aviation actors to be included in the system.
The main challenge is to successfully complete the ICAO safety audit, expected in 2022. In view of ongoing structural changes of the aviation authorities, Kazakhstan must confirm and improve the rate of compliance with ICAO standards and recommended practices up to 80% (the current level of compliance is 74%). Preparations for the audit have already begun – Amendments to the Air Space Use Law is being developed.
We are also working on introduction of EASA regulation and becoming a valuable member of the international aviation system through observer membership of Europe Strategic Aviation body the European Civil Aviation Conference.
We continue to recruit and train staff as well as create the IT infrastructure necessary to manage a large wide and diverse aviation industry. With over 788 aircraft registered in Kazakhstan along with over 500 foreign registered aircraft operating in the country it is considered to be one in the top 20 aviation nations. Plans continue to be delivered through the introduction of new mechanisms. Such as the plan for the international aircraft and mortgage register through the Astana International Financial Centre. International Tracking mechanisms for aircraft, and new mechanisms for managing and tracking airline industry risks.
Work is also underway to modernize the air transport infrastructure within the Nurly Zhol program. The construction of a new terminal at the Shymkent airport is underway, reconstruction of the runway in Ust-Kamenogorsk airport has begun, and the reconstruction of the air terminal complex of the Uralsk airport continues.
Dear industry workers!
On this special day, I would like to congratulate all workers in the industry and thank them for the invaluable contribution made by each professional. Being a very complex, but at the same time an interesting craft, aviation has the people with the highest professionalism and responsibility, dedicated to their work, and able to find best solutions in the most difficult situations. On behalf of the aviation authorities, we congratulate all veterans and workers of the civil aviation industry, wish peace and health to your families, success in new endeavors and professional success.
Happy International Civil Aviation Day!