08ASTANA1669, KAZAKHSTAN – FAA DISCUSSES CIVIL AVIATION ISSUES WITH

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08ASTANA1669 2008-09-05 06:21 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO5936
OO RUEHAST RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHLH RUEHLN RUEHPW RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHTA #1669/01 2490621
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 050621Z SEP 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3183
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 0622
RUCNCLS/SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 001669 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: EAIR PGOV PREL KZ
SUBJECT:  KAZAKHSTAN - FAA DISCUSSES CIVIL AVIATION ISSUES WITH 
GOVERNMENT, AIRPORT, AND AIRLINE REPRESENTATIVES 
 
Summary 
------- 
 
1.  (SBU) Brian Staurseth, Moscow-based Federal Aviation 
Administration (FAA) Senior Representative for the CIS, visited 
Astana from August 25-28, 2008 for meetings with Mukhit Kubayev, 
Chairman of the Civil Aviation Committee; Marat Dautaliyev, Deputy 
Director General of KazAeroNavigatsiya; Johari Bin Karim, Deputy 
President of Astana International Airport; and Gerhard Coetzee, Vice 
President for Corporate Safety of Air Astana.  The purpose of the 
visit was to inform civil aviation officials about the FAA's 
standards and procedures for carriers to service the United States, 
to discuss the FAA's International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) 
program, and to learn about the state of civil aviation safety in 
Kazakhstan.  Although Kazakhstani officials reassured Staurseth that 
they would implement European flight safety standards by the end of 
the year, Air Astana representative Coetzee was skeptical.  He 
maintained that Kazakhstani civil aviation authorities have not been 
given sufficient support, staff, or resources to carry out their 
mission and noted that the government has declined offers of 
assistance to carry out a flight obstacle survey.  End Summary. 
 
Ambitious Airport Upgrade Program 
--------------- ----------------- 
 
2. (SBU) Mukhit Kubayev, Chairman of the Civil Aviation Committee, 
told visiting FAA representative Brian Staurseth that nine of 
Kazakhstan's 14 international airports meet the standards of the 
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).  Kubayev claimed 
that the Civil Aviation Committee, with a staff of 35 people, 
including no more than 10 safety inspectors, operates according to 
European Joint Aviation Regulations-European Aviation Safety Agency 
(JAR-EASA) standards.  The Civil Aviation Committee has issued 
airworthiness certificates to more than 800 Kazakhstan registered 
aircraft and issued air operator certificates (AOCs) to more than 50 
carriers operating in Kazakhstan.  (Note: The purpose of the FAA 
visit was not to audit the civil aviation authority; an ICAO audit 
is scheduled for May 2009.  End Note.) 
 
3. (SBU) Kubayev also noted that the Kazakhstan government has 
carried out an ambitious program to upgrade airport facilities 
around the country, including a new terminal in Astana, a runway in 
Aktau, and renovations at airports in Kyzylorda and Aktobe.  The 
government has been successful in leveraging international financial 
support to carry out these modernization projects.  For example, the 
Japanese Bank for Reconstruction and Development provided a 40-year 
loan of $250 million to finance renovations at Astana Airport in 
2005.  There is no civil aviation transport agreement between the 
USG and Kazakhstani government and currently no U.S. air carriers 
provide passenger service to Kazakhstan, although FedEx has an 
agreement to provide cargo service.  Kubayev said the Kazakhstanis 
would be willing to offer incentives to a U.S. carrier to offer 
non-stop service from Astana or Almaty to New York. (Comment:  Based 
on our observations of passenger traffic to the U.S., we have doubts 
that such a route would be profitable.  End Comment.)  Kubayev also 
noted that the Ministry of Transport has decided to fully phase out 
ageing Soviet-built aircraft by 2011 in favor of new Western-built 
ones. 
 
Air Astana Says Civil Aviation Committee Under-Resourced 
------------------------ ------------------------------- 
 
4. (SBU) Air Astana Vice-President for Corporate Safety Gerhard 
Coetzee told Staurseth that Air Astana would be interested in a code 
share agreement with a U.S. carrier -- which would trigger an FAA 
International Aviation Safety Assessment of Kazakhstan's Civilian 
Aviation Committee.  Air Astana is not, however, actively pursuing a 
direct route of its own to New York or any other U.S. city.  Air 
Astana -- owned 51 percent by the Kazakhstani government and 49 
percent by BAe Systems -- operates 21 aircraft (five Boeing 757s, 
two 767s, 10 Airbuses, and five Fokker 50s) and accounts for more 
than 75 percent of all Kazakhstani air traffic.  (Note: Other major 
Kazakhstani airlines include Scat Air, headquartered in Shymkent, 
with 30 Antonov and Yakovlev aircraft; Saychat, which has routes to 
Israel; and Tulpar, which has 15 Antonov and Yakovlev aircraft that 
it operates throughout the Central Asia region.  End Note.) 
According to Coetzee, Air Astana operates in full compliance with 
ICAO and industry IOSA standards and often provides informal 
technical assistance to the Civil Aviation Committee on aviation 
safety and other matters.  The airline maintains a roughly 50-50 
ratio of international to local staff.  Kazakhstanis occupy 
leadership positions in the finance, legal, human resources, 
procurement, and public relations departments. 
 
5. (SBU) Coetzee was extremely skeptical that Kazakhstani civil 
aviation authorities would be able to meet Prime Minister Masimov's 
order to fully implement JAR-EASA standards by the end of the year; 
he
 estimated it will actually take at least five years.  Simply to 
translate the standards by the end of the year would be an 
impressive feat.  Coetzee was quite emphatic in arguing that 
 
ASTANA 00001669  002 OF 002 
 
 
Kazakhstani civil aviation authorities have not been given 
sufficient support, staff, or resources to carry out their mission. 
There are, for example, no departments for air worthiness, 
licensing, or aeronautical navigation at the Civil Aviation 
Committee.  According to Coetzee, the Committee has no one on staff 
qualified to oversee check airmen and provide safety guarantees on 
inspected aircraft.  "Someone has got to get the message to those 
above that the civil aviation authority is severely under 
resourced," he said. 
 
6. (SBU) Coetzee lamented the government's decision in May 2008 to 
decline the (gratis) offer of U.S. specialists to conduct a 
systematic survey using World Geodetic Standard (WGS) 84 of five 
airports in Kazakhstan.  This survey is standard practice in most 
countries and would help to significantly increase air safety in 
cases where airports have no reliable data on obstacles to aircraft. 
 A survey team was sent home after the Ministry of Defense raised 
objections based on national security concerns, Coetzee maintained. 
He said that Azat Bekturov, Vice Minister of Transportation and an 
Air Astana Board member, has established a committee to investigate 
the matter and will raise it with the Ministry of Defense in the 
near future.  Coetzee did not think that there was a major safety or 
commercial concern related to Kazakhstan's non-adoption of ICAO RVSM 
standards of 300 meters (recently adopted by China and long existing 
in the EU), although Staurseth suggested that the existence of 
different altitude structures might complicate air traffic 
transitions from Europe to China through Kazakhstan. 
 
ORDWAY

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