Fri, 20 May 2016

Air Astana Cancels Launch of Flights to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Air Astana has cancelled the launch of flights connecting the capitals of Kazakhstan and Mongolia.

 Air Astana said in a statement that the Astana-Ulaanbaatar flights, which were scheduled to commence on 2 June 2016, have been cancelled due to a revocation of permission by the Civil Aviation Authority of Mongolia (CAAM).

The intergovernmental Air Services Agreement between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Republic of Mongolia was signed in 1992 and the Memorandum of Understanding establishing the number of flights to be operated was signed in 2014.

These documents provide the legal basis for the airlines of two countries to start flights with immediate effect of signing.

Air Astana started the flight permission application process and successfully completed the audit by the Mongolian civil aviation authorities and was informed that there were zero findings.

CAAM granted permission to start flights in March 2016.

Air Astana says that In April 2016, the CAA of Mongolia unilaterally withdrew permission without any valid grounds. The Air Services Agreement stipulates the specific three grounds based on which Mongolia could possibly revoke the permission of a Kazakh designated carrier and none of these apply to Air Astana.

Despite intensive efforts by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Industry and Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Air Astana itself, the CAA of Mongolia has not reversed its revocation. Reasons include the audit for which the airline has a confirmation it passed with zero findings, unavailability of the Ulaanbaatar Airport in June for the ASEM Summit in the middle of July and the latest, an alleged blacklist by ICAO which is somewhat confusing as Air Astana has never been blacklisted for any operation, to any country.

The intergovernmental air services agreement was signed on the basis of the 1944 Chicago Convention, of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, ICAO.

 By refusing the operation of the designated carrier of the Republic of Kazakhstan to operate under the bilateral agreement, Kazakhstan believes that Mongolia is in breach of the provisions of the Chicago Convention, and will refer the matter to the ICAO Council accordingly.

 Air Astana is in the process of contacting all affected passengers.

See other recent news regarding: Air Astana, Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, Almaty, Astana, Kazakhstan

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