Almaty Airport’s new showpiece terminal opens for business

The new international terminal at Almaty Airport in Kazakhstan welcomed its first passengers today.

The gateway is targeting Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies (EDGE) certification for the new $200 million terminal, which raises the airport’s capacity to more than 14 million passengers per annum.

The first passengers arrived at the new TAV Airports funded terminal this morning on Air Astana flight KC664 from London.

On Friday, President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, visited the airport to receive a sneak preview of the new facility, when he was joined by Kazakhstan’s Minister of Transport, Marat Karabayev, Almaty mayor, Yerbolat Dosaev, TAV Airports CEO, Serkan Kaptan, and executive board member Franck Mereyde.

President Tokayev expressed gratitude to TAV Airports for completing the terminal and lenders for their contribution to the project.

All international traffic will be transferred to the new terminal over the two weeks, after which time the old terminal will exclusively serve domestic traffic.

Connecting East and West

Built in 1935, today Almaty is the busiest hub in Central Asia and home base to national flag carrier Air Astana and Scat Airlines.

According to TAV Airports, a member of Groupe ADP, the airport now utilises the very latest operational and features a range of world-class services to enhance passenger experience.

“Kazakhstan is the largest country in the region – both geographically and economically – and Almaty is the largest city in the country producing 20% of Kazakhstan’s GDP,” enthused TAV Airports’ CEO, Serkan Kaptan.

“Using our extensive know-how and global network, we are boosting air connectivity, creating jobs, and contributing to the sustainable development efforts in Kazakhstan.

“In just three years, the number of destinations [at Almaty Airport] has almost doubled, the number of passenger airlines risen to 37 from 24, and cargo airlines to 16 from nine. We increased direct jobs by 10% last year. This investment will help further our contribution, creating value for all our stakeholders and local communities.”

Solid passenger and cargo traffic growth

Almaty Airport served 6.4 million passengers in 2019 and it was among the fastest to recover from the global pandemic. In 2023 it welcomed 9.5 million passengers with a 32% increase year over year.

“Air Astana makes up for more than half of the passenger traffic. Together with Flyaristan, they have an ambitious plan to grow their fleet and introduce new destinations. The new terminal will create capacity to support organic growth, while we work to attract new airlines,” noted Kaptan.

Almaty Airport handled a record high of 98,621 tons of cargo in 2023 and expects further growth in 2024.

Kaptan added: “Cargo volume is driven by the rise of e-commerce. We are working with the Ministry of Transport to develop the intermodality of the airport by integrating railways into the mix.”

Largest private airport investment in Central Asia

TAV Airports holds an 85% stake in the SPV, which acquired Almaty Airport in 2021 for a total sum of $422 million. The co-investor is the Kazakhstan Infrastructure Fund, managed by VPE Capital.

The financing package is spearheaded by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Additionally, IFC and EBRD jointly mobilised parallel loans by DEG, the German development finance institution, and the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB)

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