By Abdul Kerimkhanov
The development of a comprehensive partnership with the United States is one of the main priorities of Kazakhstan's foreign policy.
Peter Foster, the president of Air Astana said that the opening of a direct flight to the United States from Kazakhstan may take place at the end of 2020, the press service of the Civil Aviation Committee reports.
He told at an extended meeting of the board of the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development that the process of obtaining approval from the U.S. Department of Civil Aviation is much simpler, but in terms of security, the audit process will take some time.
As Foster noted, the implementation of these flights to New York is being considered through an intermediate point, which will also require the signing of an additional agreement on commercial traffic.
He added that if everything goes according to plan, then it is planned to start flying in 2020.
First Deputy Prime Minister Askar Mamin inquired from First Vice Minister Roman Sklyar about the specific dates for opening a direct flight to Japan and the United States.
Askar Mamin stated that President Nursultan Nazarbayev set the task and the issues of route subsidies will be solved at the government meeting on January 30.
Roman Sklyar explained that institutional support is the introduction of amendments and additions to the law on transport, which will be heard on March 13 in the second reading in Majilis.
A package of documents is being prepared specifically for subsidizing international flights.
Sklyar noted, there is a legal basis between Kazakhstan and Japan, which allows you to open flights between countries with a frequency of up to 14 flights per week.
‘‘This year, the issues of providing state support to domestic companies for opening such flights to Japan and the U.S. will be worked out. In the second half of 2019, we plan to launch a flight to Japan. ‘‘Air Astana’’ must pass an audit of U.S. aviation authorities for compliance with safety criteria, which will take about two years. Therefore, it is possible to attract at the first stage American airlines’’, concluded Vice Minister.
Air Astana was incorporated in late 2001 and its maiden flight was on the 15th May 2002.
Today Air Astana operates a fleet of 34 western aircraft with an average age of 8.45 years. It operates over 60 domestic and international routes. Its passengers are served by more than 4,700 highly qualified staff, the majority of whom are from Kazakhstan, supplemented by experienced foreign personnel.
The U.S. became the first country in the world to recognize the independence of Kazakhstan.
Diplomatic relations between Kazakhstan and the United States were established on January 7, 1992.
More than 500 companies with U.S. capital work in Kazakhstan. In recent years, such companies as Primus Power, Spancrete, Uber, Starbucks, McDonalds and Netflix have entered Kazakhstan.
Imports of goods from the United States to Kazakhstan are machines, electrical equipment, ground vehicles and aircraft.
Exports of goods to the United States from Kazakhstan amounted to products of the chemical and related industries, products in the form of granules or powder, machinery and equipment.
The introduction of a visa-free regime for up to 30 days for U.S. citizens since the beginning of 2017 plays a positive role in promoting tourism in Kazakhstan.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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