Madiyar Menilbekov, Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United Arab Emirates, held a meeting with Marwan Bin Hashim Manager of Government and International Affairs of Etihad Airways. During the meeting, the Kazakh diplomat noted that at the instruction of Kazakhstan’s President, a number of cities in Kazakhstan adopted an “open skies” aviation policy for international flights to priority destinations.
The Ambassador informed that this step was taken to create favorable conditions for passengers by increasing competition, as well as to further expand international cooperation between Kazakhstan and the leading countries of the world. In this regard, the Abu Dhabi – Almaty – Abu Dhabi route is once again gaining relevance for both Kazakhstanis and foreigners. In addition, this route could be attractive for citizens traveling to other countries in transit through the UAE.
Etihad Airways representative expressed confidence that the entry into force of the “open skies” policy in Kazakhstan’s cities will give impetus to the development of this sector and will facilitate the opening of new international air routes. He also added that Kazakhstan’s provision of 5 freedoms of aviation is a significant step forward.
It also should be noted that there is a solid legal framework between Kazakhstan and the United Arab Emirates, including an agreement on the avoidance of double taxation, which affects cost reduction, thereby ensuring affordable prices for airline tickets. In addition, according to the manager of the Abu Dhabi-based airline, the introduction of a visa-free regime for citizens of both countries for 30 days significantly increased passenger traffic, as evidenced by the continued high demand for the existing route Abu Dhabi - Nur Sultan - Abu Dhabi. During summer vacations, Etihad Airways increases the number of flights per week from two to three.
It is well known that on September 30, 2019 the list of countries whose citizens can visit Kazakhstan has replenished by another five Arab states. Among them are Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain. At the same time, these countries do not have direct flights with Kazakhstan. According to the Kazakh Ambassador to the UAE, developed transport communications, including regular flights from the UAE to the above-mentioned countries, can significantly increase the demand for the Abu Dhabi - Almaty route.
Following the meeting, Etihad Airways experts, taking into account the information provided, noted that an analysis of the current market situation will be carried out, the results will be reported to the Kazakh side. During the analysis, demand for new routes, favorable prices for services at Kazakhstan airports, measures taken by Kazakhstan to increase attractiveness, as well as mechanisms for implementing agreements between the two countries will be taken into account. The parties agreed to continue negotiations on this issue.
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