MASKargo will commence weekly A330 freighter services to Karagandy International Airport in Kazakhstan starting Oct. 30, securing a solid bridge into the Russian market. When the carrier receives its second A330 freighter in November, Shahari Sulaiman, managing director of MASKargo, left open the possibility of increasing the route to twice or three times a week.
Russia is a market that has been untapped by MASKargo until now. About 70 percent to 80 percent of the goods flown to Kazakhstan will be routed to Russia, with the rest staying in the country.
“This is something very new for us; it is a new market,” he told Air Cargo World during a break at the Routes conference in Berlin. “We have seen quite a number of inquiries from different forwarder companies for shipments out of the far east and out of Europe in to Kazakhstan. We are hoping, over time, to develop this market.”
The initial route will be flown from Shanghai to Karagandy to Amsterdam.
“Many operators now use Karagandy as a technical stop,” he said. “We hope to bring more value to the airport by making it a commercial stop.”
Another selling point for MASKargo is Karagandy’s participation in a Customs union that unites Kazakhstan, Belarus and Russia. The presence of a single Customs authority allows airport officials to have direct access to strictly controlled Russian markets, explained the airport’s Timur Khojayev.
The new development will also benefit the airport, fueling air cargo growth. Khojayev said airport executives are already in talks with Panalpina, Globalink and TNT, and that some of these firms are “close to establishing their own facilities.” MASKargo’s move will also help local logistics companies, who will both modernize their processes in order to handle increased tonnages and being to comply with international standards.