The Forum Routes Silk Road 2019 gathered July 15-17 more than 250 people from business, government and aviation in panel sessions and 800 face-to-face meetings to discuss air services at the capital’s Palace of Independence.
“The Astana Convention Bureau is excited to host this prestigious event and welcome all participants to our wonderful city. Nur-Sultan is growing at a tremendous pace and this is an important and timely event on our journey to develop Nur-Sultan into a leading business and convention destination in Central Asia,” said Astana Convention Bureau Deputy Director Helena Mahuas.
The route development forum for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Central Asia will help Kazakhstan’s aviation market expand, increase its number of international flights and learn from major aviation companies, said Nur-Sultan Deputy Akim (Mayor) Bakhtiyar Maken at the forum’s opening. For example, the Kazakh Civil Aviation Committee met with representatives of foreign airlines and airports to discuss opening new destinations from Nur-Sultan.
“For Nursultan Nazarbayev Airport, the international exhibition Routes Silk Road 2019 is a significant event. The conference will give us an excellent opportunity to declare ourselves as a high-level airport, present a new passenger terminal and discuss the development of new and existing destinations,” said Nursultan Nazarbayev International Airport Chief Executive Officer Radilbek Adimolda.
Last year, 38 airlines offered scheduled international flights from Kazakhstan, and international capacity rose 5.3 percent to 3.54 million departure seats. At the forum, Kazakh Tourism Deputy Chairman Kairat Sadvakassov urged local ground handlers and tour operators to consider 24 and 48-hour itineraries to allow a longer stop at Nur-Sultan for transit passengers, given that airports are increasingly honing their hub potential.
“We recently launched direct flights to Ulaanbaatar and Tokyo. We are planning to launch flights to New York, Singapore and Shanghai. We have worked throughout 98 international routes. I know that there are many heads of airlines that would like to work in Kazakhstan, and we are open to cooperation,” said Kazakh Vice Minister of Industry and Infrastructure Development Berik Kamaliyev.
Approximately half of South Korea’s population consider themselves keen travellers, and many have visited well-established destinations and seek new experiences, a gap which Kazakhstan may well fill, noted Somon Air Chief Executive Officer Thomas Hallam.