Air Astana cancels Ulaanbaatar launch in Mongolia spat
Air Astana has cancelled the planned launch of flights connecting the capitals of Kazakhstan and Mongolia due to the revocation of permission by the Civil Aviation Authority of Mongolia.
The carrier had been due to launch direct Astana-Ulaanbaatar flights from June 2nd, 2016.
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 that normally takes two months, eight months before the first flight.
The company 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.
In April 2016, the CAA of Mongolia unilaterally withdrew permission without any valid grounds, according to Air Astana.
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.
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.
A statement said: “Air Astana deeply regrets the inconvenience caused to its passengers for reasons beyond its best efforts and control.
“Air Astana is in the process of contacting all affected passengers.”