Almaty Airport in Kazakhstan joins TAV’s global airport network
Global airport operator, TAV Airports, has officially taken over responsibility for operating Almaty Airport in Kazakhstan.
TAV now owns 85% of Almaty Airport and its associated fuel and catering businesses with the Kazakhstan Infrastructure Fund – managed by VPE Capital and backed by Kazyna Capital Management – holding the remaining 15% stake.
Almaty is the first airport in TAV’s portfolio where the company owns the airport instead of a time limited concession.
The main gateway to Kazakhstan is an important junction in the modern ‘Silk road’ and becomes the 15th airport in TAV’s global network.
TAV Airports notes that the previously agreed purchase price of $415 million was reduced to $365 million taking into account the traffic decrease due to the pandemic.
Depending on the recovery of the traffic to pre-pandemic levels, the consortium will pay the additional $50 million in coming years.
TAV will invest around $200 million to build a new international terminal which will double the airport’s capacity to more than 14 million passengers annually. The investment is planned to be completed in less than three years.
The consortium received approval from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to finance 50% the acquisition and 100% of the new terminal investment with a loan. The financing is expected to be closed in the 3rd quarter of 2021.
Located in the south east of the country, in addition to its importance to the Silk Road, Almaty is a strategical point along China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ project, connecting Central China to West Asia.
TAV notes that Kazakhstan leads Central Asia in economic growth and generates roughly 60% of the region’s GDP.
TAV Airports president and CEO Sani Şener, enthused: “We’re happy to add Almaty Airport, which is a main transit hub between Asia and Europe, to our portfolio.
“Kazakhstan is the largest country in the region, both geographically and economically, and Almaty is the largest city in the country producing 20% of Kazakhstan’s GDP. We believe there’s a significant potential for growth in Almaty Airport, and drawing upon our extensive know-how, we’ll work towards realising this potential to the fullest.
“As part of the largest airport management group globally, we’ll be promoting Almaty and Kazakhstan as the business capital of the region, as a country with a rich cultural heritage and diverse tourism opportunities.
“Our expertise in route development will help to increase the connectivity of Almaty to the world. As an example, in Georgia we doubled the number of destinations and increased passenger traffic seven fold in a decade.”
He noted that TAV’s aim is to contribute to the economic and social development of Almaty region, creating employment and facilitating a global reach for local businesses.
“I would like to underline the supporting approach towards foreign investors in Kazakhstan and thank government officials, our partner, our lenders and employees who made this process as smooth as possible,” added Sener.
The base of the flag carrier Air Astana, Almaty Airport served 6.4 million passengers in 2019, with a 13% increase compared to the previous year.
The airport announced net profits in 2020 despite the traffic drop to 3.6 million in 2020 due to travel restrictions brought by COVID-19.
In addition to Air Astana, Bek Air, SCAT Airlines and Qazak Air also use Almaty as their base.
Pre-pandemic, Almaty was a major regional transportation hub for 26 passenger and 8 cargo airlines serving multiple destinations. Air Astana provided almost half of the passenger traffic while Turkish Airlines led in cargo.