The national air carrier Air Astana intends to appeal the court's decision to impose a ₸6.7 billion fine on the company for allegations of utilizing a monopoly status in the domestic aviation market and setting exorbitant ticket prices, QazMonitor reports.
The fine was imposed on Air Astana after the Agency for protection and promotion of competition conducted an inspection of the company in response to vocal public outcry regarding the continuous increase in airfares, particularly during the high-demand summer vacation period. The inspection uncovered instances of unjustified fuel surcharge collection from each ticket.
Following the inspection, the specialized interdistrict economic court in Almaty found the company guilty of taking advantage of its dominance in the domestic aviation market and decided to impose an administrative fine of ₸6.7 billion (over $15 million) on June 8.
However, the court's decision has not yet entered into legal force.
In response, Air Astana issued a statement refuting the accusations, stating that they have been operating in accordance with national legislation. The company claims that numerous investigations and inspections into the airline's allegedly exploitative pricing policy have not revealed any violations on the part of the carrier.
"The offense imputed by the Agency concerns only the collection of the fuel surcharge and is unreasonable. First of all, the collection of the fuel fee by airlines is a legal right and is provided by the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan 'On the Use of Airspace.' Today, this provision is in force, and the Agency itself has repeatedly acknowledged it," states the official message.
The company also claims that the trial was conducted with procedural violations.
"The airline will appeal the judicial act, and the Agency violated the procedure for bringing responsibility, as evidenced by the decision of the specialized interdistrict administrative court in Astana, which recognized the actions/inaction of the Agency as illegal (which has not yet entered into legal force)," added the official message.