Almaty International Airport
|Almaty International Airport
Халықаралық Алматы Әуежайы
Международный Аэропорт Алматы
|IATA: ALA – ICAO: UAAA|
|Owner||JSC Almaty International Airport|
|Location||15 km NE of Almaty, Kazakhstan|
|Elevation AMSL||681 m / 2,234 ft|
Almaty International Airport (Kazakh: Халықаралық Алматы Әуежайы, Xalıqaralıq Almatı Äwejayı, حالىقارالىق الماتى أۋەجايى, Russian: Международный Аэропорт Алматы, Mezhdunarodnyy Aeroport Almaty) (IATA: ALA, ICAO: UAAA) is the largest international airport in Kazakhstan. It is located 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.
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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 went into 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 whole terminal building burned down in just a few hours, fortunately without major injuries. 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 located within the territory of this terminal. The new terminal was to be located along Kuldja Road in order to help reduce traffic on the way to the airport. However the construction of the new terminal was delayed due to lack of managers handling the construction of project. The airport is still currently looking for a new manager to handle the construction that's currently unfinished. 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.
Airlines and destinations
Accidents and incidents
- 7 July 1980, Aeroflot flight 4227: All 163 occupants of a Tupolev Tu-154B-2, tail number CCCP-85355, lost their lives when the aircraft crashed shortly after take-off from Alma-Ata Airport. The airplane was due to operate a domestic scheduled Alma-Ata–Simferopol passenger service under the Kazakh division as Flight 4227; the airspeed suddenly dropped because of thermal currents it encountered during climb out, causing the airplane to stall about 5 km (3.1 mi) away, crashing and catching fire.
- 30 August 1980, Aeroflot Flight CCCP-65129, Tupolev Tu-134 crashed on approach to Almaty after a flight from Chelyabinsk where all 90 passengers and crew died.
- 29 January 2013, SCAT Airlines flight 760, a Bombardier CRJ-200ER, registration UR-CJ006, crashed during a low-visibility approach into Almaty International Airport that originated from Kokshetau. All 21 occupants died. The deputy mayor of Almaty, Maulen Mukashev, visited the crash site and told reporters that the preliminary cause of the crash is bad weather. The accident is currently under investigation.
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Media related to Almaty International Airport at Wikimedia Commons