Welcome to Kazakhstan

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On August 1, 2019, the Republic of Kazakhstan took a bold step to improve its aviation regulator as part of a nation-building strategy.

Peter Griffiths, the former chairman of the EU Performance Review Body, was appointed director general of the new Aviation Administration of Kazakhstan and he spoke to Air Traffic Management about the challenges the new body faces and his approach to delivering the national strategy.

Griffiths says that his contribution will be to help deliver the country’s ‘100 steps’ strategy to building a modern society. Step 68 addresses the aviation needs and states that the country will ‘improve the effectiveness of the state’s air transport management to increase attractiveness of air transit through Kazakhstan’.

 It also adds that the activities of the civil aviation committee will be focused on the model of the UK CAA and EASA.

 The UK regulatory model was chosen following a visit of state officials in 2015 who viewed it as being the best suited to deliver the needs of the 18.5 million people who live there.

It is a large country of just over 2.7 million square kilometres, approximately two thirds the size of Europe. It has a vibrant but small aviation system but as it grows, it needs connectivity to global finance and business centres. Aviation is considered to be the best transport mode to deliver these requirements and plans are now being put in place to increase the nation’s aviation infrastructure.

The new aviation regulator is tasked with delivery of a safe, cost efficient and sustainable aviation system, addressing environmental and safety concerns. This has been a challenge as Kazakhstan was at one time on the EU’s Black List of states unable to operate its airlines into the EU region unlike some of its regional neighbours.

Griffiths says that in setting up the new regulator considerable resources have been allocated to achieve the strategy with new offices in the prestigious Expo Centre in Nur Sultan and the launch of a recruitment campaign.

He is approximately halfway towards fulfilling his manpower requirement goal of 175. In addition, he has a support contract with the UK CAA International to plan and train staff, as well as to provide other support needs.

In the New Year, Griffiths says he plans to launch a digitalisation approach to regulation to create the performance-based regulation approach of ICAO Annex 19.

Discussions with the airline community have already started on how the new regulator can help. Key to this is achieving a Category 1 rating which means the country’s civil aviation authority will comply with ICAO standards. With an International Aviation Safety Assessment Category 1 rating, the country’s air carriers will be able to establish an all-important service to the United States.