Kazakhstan resumes flights: what do citizens think about it?
Kazakhstan gradually resumes international regular and charter flights. The country has recently launched flights to Russia as well. According to Civil Aviation Committee of Kazakh Ministry of Industry and Infrastructural Development, starting September 21, it is planned to perform two flights per week to Russia. Air companies are currently working on organizational issues.
“Pursuant to the decisions of the Interdepartmental Commission of June 11 and August 11 this year, starting from June 20, regular international flights to 10 countries on 19 routes with a frequency of 89 flights per week have been gradually resumed. This is South Korea – 2 flights from June 20 on the route Almaty - Seoul; Turkey – 46 flights from June 20 on the routes Nur-Sultan - Istanbul, Almaty - Istanbul, Aktau - Istanbul, Atyrau - Istanbul, Shymkent - Istanbul, Nur-Sultan - Antalya, Almaty - Antalya; to the Netherlands – 1 flight from August 17 on the Atyrau - Amsterdam route; 19 flights to the UAE from August 17 on the routes Almaty - Dubai 11 flights and Nur-Sultan - Dubai 8 flights; to Germany – 6 flights from August 18 on the route Nur-Sultan - Frankfurt 5 flights and Oral - Frankfurt 1 flight. Also, Belarus - 9 flights from August 19 on the routes Almaty - Minsk 4 flights and Nur-Sultan - Minsk 5 flights; to Ukraine 2 flights from August 19 on the Almaty – Kiev route. To Uzbekistan - 2 flights from September 11 on the route Almaty - Tashkent; to Kyrgyzstan - 2 flights from September 20 - Almaty - Bishkek. Also, charter flights to Egypt have been resumed since September 11 on the route Almaty - Sharm El Sheikh,” said Aziz Dosymbetov, Chief Expert of the International Relations Department of the Civil Aviation Committee of Kazakh Ministry of Industry and Infrastructural Development.
According to the Civil Aviation Committee, the list was approved on the basis of the decisions of the Chief State Sanitary Doctor and the Interdepartmental Commission on the fight against COVID-19. Despite the political decision of the countries to resume air traffic, airlines can resume flights not from September 21, but as soon as they are ready. We found out what Kazakh citizens think about it.
“I don’t get the logic of the government or chief sanitary doctor, to be honest. It is autumn now, the best time for various viruses to spread. Why are the borders opened? To create another outbreak and impose quarantine again? Moreover, the second wave is raging in some countries, of course, if we believe the official media,” said the capital’s resident Madina Batyrbayeva.
“Along with the resumption of flights, an intense spread of various viruses and coronavirus will begin. I think people should go abroad only if it is necessary, not for a vacation,” said another resident of Nur-Sultan Samal Kabikenova.
“I am actually against it, in case people travel abroad just for vacation. There is no quarantine requirement for them upon arrival. I read somewhere that there should be a mandatory quarantine or testing requirement, but many might not take it seriously. They will import more COVID-19 positive cases into the country or vice versa. The borders will be closed again, and there will be many infected people,” Dinara Dulat shared her opinion.
“I was delighted by the news that Kazakhstan is resuming international flights to a number of foreign countries. Personally, I have been waiting for this for a long time. I was planning to visit the United Arab Emirates even before the quarantine. I think that I will fly there first,” said Svetlana Ivanova.
According to the travel agencies in Nur-Sultan, it is the UAE that is currently the most popular travel destination among Kazakh tourists. As international flights resume, demand for overseas tour packages also increases.
“The situation with the opening of borders is favorable for us, because the demand increased by one and a half or two times, given that we absolutely did not launch any advertising. Tourists searched for travel agencies themselves, they wanted to fly out. There are tourists who have been waiting for the opening of the borders, they called us many times asking when the borders would be opened. Then, as soon as the borders opened, they took off on the first flights right away. There are a lot of such tourists,” said the representative of a travel agency in Nur-Sultan Meruert Sametova.
Experts say that the situation related to the spread of COVID-19 across the world which led to the closure of borders had a positive effect on the development of domestic tourism. Thus, resorts located in the east and west of Kazakhstan, in particular, vacation spots near Lake Alakol and the Caspian Sea, became popular travel destinations for Kazakh residents.