Almaty, Kazahstan

 

 

 
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ICAO: UAAA

Almaty International Airport (Kazakh: Халықаралық Алматы Әуежайы, Xalıqaralıq Almatı Äwejayı, Russian: Международный Аэропорт Алматы, Mezhdunarodnyy Aeroport Almaty) (IATA: ALA, ICAO: UAAA) is the largest international airport in Kazakhstan. It is about 15 km (9.3 mi) northeast of Almaty, the country's largest city and commercial capital. Almaty airport accounts for half of passenger traffic and 68% of cargo traffic to Kazakhstan. In 2012, the airport handled 4,003,004 passengers, including 1,997,570 arriving passengers, and 2,005,434 departing passengers.

The airport was built in 1935, for all small civil/military flying ships. Up to 1990 it was the part of Kazakh Department of Civil Aviation, and then reorganized into "Alma-Ata Airport" in 1991. Since 1993 it has run as an independent business unit. In 1994, it was reorganized into OJSC "Almaty Airport" and later renamed to JSC Almaty International Airport.

The supersonic transport (SST) Tupolev Tu-144 began service on 26 December 1975, flying mail and freight between Moscow and Alma-Ata in preparation for passenger services, which commenced in November 1977. The Aeroflot flight on 1 June 1978 was the Tu-144's 55th and last scheduled passenger service.

Following a runway reconstruction in 1998, Almaty airport was awarded II category and status of an International Airport.

On 9 July 1999 a fire started in the shashlik kitchen of the airport restaurant. The terminal building burned down in just a few hours, fortunately without major injuries.

Development since the 2000
Construction of a new terminal was completed in 2004. On 30 September 2008 a second runway was opened with a first departure of a BMI flight bound for London Heathrow. The new runway has also been given an ICAO certificate for CAT III landings which will significantly reduce the number of planes diverting to nearby airfields due to low visibility, especially during the winter months. This runway is the longest in central Asia. The new runway can accept all types of aircraft without limitation of take-off weight and operations frequency.

Growth in connectivity is in danger of being compromised by airport infrastructure that is comparatively expensive and not keeping pace with demand growth. IATA is urging the Kazakhstan government to follow ICAO principles and eliminate differential ANSP charges between domestic and international carriers. Currently (2012), it is 18% more expensive to turn around an Airbus A320 in Almaty than at similarly-sized airports in Europe. The differential rises to 43% for a Boeing 767.

There are plans to build a new passenger terminal for international flights with six loading bridges and capacity up to 2,500 passengers per hour in the near future. A developed infrastructure complex consisting of a Marriott Hotel, conference halls, business center, shopping center and cinemas will be within this terminal.

The new terminal was to be located along Kuldja Road to help reduce traffic on the way to the airport. However the terminal's construction was delayed due to lack of managers handling the project's construction. The airport is still looking for a new manager to handle the construction. There has also been proposal to build the entire new Almaty airport 48 km to the North-East of Almaty or still focus on expanding new terminal.