The Luxembourgish flag cargo carrier Cargolux will triple the number of transit flights through Astana International Airport from 7 flights to 21 flights per week, QazMonitor reports citing the ministry of industry and infrastructural development.
Marat Karabayev, the minister of industry and infrastructural development, signed a memorandum on establishing regular flights between Kazakhstan and Luxembourg with Jean Asselborn, the minister for foreign and European affairs of Luxembourg.
"Previously there were only charter flights, now they’ll be conducted on a direct basis. And whereas flights from Luxembourg were previously operated 7 times a week, the signed memorandum increases the number of flights to 21. This is a key agreement. Following France and Finland, Luxembourg is the third country with which we have signed the Fifth Freedom of the Air,” said Karabayev.
According to him, this new agreement opens up opportunities for the domestic aviation industry and positions the country as a key transit hub between Europe and Southeast Asia. The addition of new transit flights will also encourage the growth of professional competencies among Kazakh aviation personnel.
Moreover, it is expected to provide new opportunities for entrepreneurs as well. In-demand cargoes will now reach their consumers in the domestic market, while Astana Airport will process and direct cargo for the European and Southeast Asian markets.
Cargolux made its inaugural flight to Astana on May 1. Presently, the airline operates seven flights a week, connecting Luxembourg with cities in China and Japan through Astana. Under the intergovernmental agreement, there are plans to increase the frequency of regular cargo flights to 42 per week in both directions in the future.
"We have signed this memorandum today because we intend to increase the frequency of cargo flights passing through the capital's airport in Kazakhstan. We hope that this will ultimately result in an increase in cargo traffic through Astana Airport as we connect Europe and Asia," said Richard Forson, the CEO of Cargolux.
Cargolux Airlines International S.A., founded in 1970 in Luxembourg, is Europe's largest cargo carrier, utilizing over 30 Boeing 747 aircraft and serving more than 50 destinations worldwide. The company employs over 2,500 people across 75 offices and is a member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).