Kazakh authorities ground 20 operators in safety drive

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Kazakhstan's Government has revoked air operator's certificates from 20 enterprises over their non-compliance with tougher aviation safety regulations.

The move follows an inspection carried out earlier this year by a visiting ICAO team which found several deficiencies in the country's air safety system.

"As a result, the number of registered airlines was reduced to 53 from 73 with 205 commercial aircraft brought out of service," says civil aviation agency chief Radilbek Adimolda.

"We've taken systematic measures to implement ICAO recommendations and are working toward removing barriers for domestic carriers which want to fly to Europe."

Since July 2010 all Kazakh airlines, except flag-carrier Air Astana, have remained banned from flying into the European Union under the European Commission's 'blacklist' scheme.

Adimolda cites newly-adopted legislation on the use of airspace and aviation activity which has toughened regulatory oversight of Kazakhstan's air transport industry.