The Central Asian state of Kazakhstan has invested in upgrading business aviation infrastructure in hopes of boosting traffic at Astana International Airport, where a new business aviation terminal (BAT) and international terminal were recently built.
Constructed by the Swiss Mabetex Group, the 32,300-sq-ft (3,000-sq-m) BAT has 25 aircraft stands and can handle 200 passengers an hour. The terminal has a conference hall and meeting rooms and “will significantly upgrade the quality of passenger services and raise the attractiveness of business aviation,” said an official. Last year, BAT handled 3,150 flights, with “the number of business jets increasing rapidly,” Paolo Ricciotti, chairman of the board of the airport, told AIN.
The country’s oil-and-gas and mining industries are major clients of business aviation. The terminal, part of the “Nurly Zhol” state program for infrastructure development, was deemed important to the nation's economy. “It will help Kazakhstan establish Astana as the main connecting point between cities around the world with Central Asia; create an opportunity to connect primary cities with secondary cities in our macro region; and serve the [planned] financial center [in Astana],” said Ricciotti.
Meanwhile, Kazakhstan-based business aviation operators Prime Aviation and Kaz Air Jet have received EASA approval to operate flights to the EU following a regulation on third-country operators flying into European airports. Prime Aviation runs private flights and medevac operations with a fleet of Gulfstream G200s and G450s; Bombardier Challenger 605s and Global 6000s; and Airbus ACJ320s. It also runs charters serving oil rigs, using two Mil Mi-172s (civilian version of the Mi-8) and a Challenger 604 and Dash 8-Q300. Kaz Air Jet operates Citation CJ3s and Yakovlev Yak-40s and Yak-42s, as well as a variety of helicopters.