Kazakhstan hires Zurich airport operator as consultant

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Zurich’s airport operator is advising Kazakhstan’s government about airport development, although Almaty’s hub is not included in the deal.

The Central Asian country’s state-owned airport operator has signed a multi-year contract with Flughafen Zurich. The deal covers management support for up to 11 airports.

The largest gateway in that group is Astana’s airport, which handles approximately 2.3 million passengers a year, the Swiss operating company says.

Kazakhstan’s main hub is in commercial centre and former capital Almaty, which handles more than four million passengers per annum.

Earlier this year, Kazakh authorities approved a plan to build a new airport on the former Zhetygen air force base, about 50km northeast of Almaty.

While the management deal with Flughafen Zurich involves the formation of a joint venture, the Swiss company will not become a shareholder in Kazakhstan’s airports.

The existing infrastructure “remains completely in property of the Kazakh state”, says Flughafen Zurich.

The European operator has management contracts with the airports in Bengaluru, India; Antofagasta, Iquique and Puerto Montt in Chile; Colombian capital Bogota; Belo Horizonte in Brazil; and Curacao.