Central Asian Flights To Resume After Covid-19 Infections Drop
Several Central Asian airlines are set to resume operations following the coronavirus outbreak. Air Astana restarted flying domestic routes in Kazakhstan after the government lifted a lockdown on May 14 that had forced the airline to suspend services. Media reports said that Air Astana wanted to resume 30% of its domestic services by the end of May. However, the airline – Central Asia’s largest – did not say when it would resume its international services.
Air Astana CEO Peter Foster said that “The present challenge is immense and we don’t expect some of our markets to improve for many years.” As well as grounding flights, the coronavirus has forced Air Astana to postpone an IPO scheduled for London later this year. Samruk Kazyna, the Kazakh sovereign health fund owns a 51% stake in Air Astana and BAE Systems owns a 49% stake. Samruk Kazyna also owns the smaller Qazaq Air, which mainly operates domestic flights. It, too, said that flights would restart.
In Uzbekistan, internal flights to more far-flung parts of the country were also restarted after lockdown restrictions were eased and Ryanair said that it would resume flying to Tbilisi from Milan and Cologne July 1. Georgia wants to be able to host foreign tourists from this date. Georgian economy minister Natia Turneva said that domestic airlines would start operating from mid-June.
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