Kazakhstan continues to reopen its borders to foreign travellers. The country has now restored connections with another six countries while Air Astana resumed flights to London and Qatar Airways will start flying to Almaty.

Since summer, Kazakhstan is again building up its connectivity with the rest of the world. The Central Asian Republic gave in July the authorisation to resume flights with Russia (10 flights per week), Georgia (12 flights per week), Kyrgyzstan (9 flights per week), Belarus (8 flights per week), Ukraine (5 flights per week), Germany (9 flights per week), Tajikistan (2 flights per week), South Korea (2 flights per week), Egypt (2 charter flights per week), the Netherlands (1 flight per week), Montenegro (7 flights per week), Poland (1 flight per week) and Armenia (1 flight per week).

A few days ago, the country announced it was increasing the number of total weekly flights to Germany, Russia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates as well as to Uzbekistan. This translates into an additional 54 flights with Russia, 9 with the UAE, 7 to Turkey, 5 to Uzbekistan and Germany and 3 to the Maldives, Kazakh Civil Aviation Committee announced.

In parallel, it also announced the reopening of air routes from and to Azerbaijan, China PRC, the Czech Republic, Italy, Kuwait and Sri Lanka.

Kazakhstan’s national carrier Air Astana is rebuilding its international network. The airline recommenced its flights to London on September 18, with two weekly frequencies linking Nur-Sultan to Heathrow. London is the 10th international destination served nonstop by the carrier from Kazakhstan’s capital Nur-Sultan. From Almaty, its main hub, Air Astana launched a three-times-weekly service to Sharjah in the UAE. It is also planning to start again flying to the Maldives from October 9, 2021. Flights will be operated four times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from Almaty.

Overall, Air Astana put on sale about 738,000 seats during September 2021—up from 534,000 during the same month in 2019. Although, 78% of the airline’s capacity is on domestic routes, as analysed by data from OAG Schedules Analyser.

Another important development for the tourism industry is the opening of flights by Qatar Airways. The route was envisioned by Qatar Airways for a long time but delayed due to the sanitary crisis.

Waiting now for a full-reopening to all travellers

According to Kazakhstan’s aviation authorities, Qatar Airways plans to begin flying to the country from October 15. The Almaty-Doha air route will be served twice a week – every Monday and Friday – with an Airbus A320.

So far, new flights are mostly open to Kazakhstan citizens who are allowed to travel again as well as to foreign travellers with essential purposes. For most foreigners, Kazakhstan remains off-limits for the time being. Tourists from 57 countries (including most EU travellers) who benefited before March 2020 of a visa-free regime are currently not eligible for this facility until December 31, 2021.

Exceptions however apply for the citizens of Georgia, Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Mongolia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Turkey, the UAE, South Korea, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Serbia, and Hong Kong. The validity of the visa fluctuates for the majority of the countries between 30 and 90 days.

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