Kazakhstan to shore up inspectors in safety effort

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Kazakhstan's civil aviation ministry is to be reinforced to cope with the workload associated with overhauling the country's air transport system.

The plan was detailed to the lower house of the Kazakh parliament, the Majilis, on 1 April, under the chairmanship of vice-speaker Sergey Dyachenko.

Kazakh authorities are intending recertification of the country's airlines and aircraft this year, in line with ICAO standards, part of a broader effort so improve air safety oversight.

The state register, the Majilis heard, comprised 497 civil aircraft but the fleet had effectively depreciated by 80%, with aircraft typically more than 20 years old.

"Outdated fleets that do not meet ICAO standards are a great disadvantage to domestic civil aviation," parliamentarians were told.

Kazakhstan is also facing shortages of fuel, pilots and a lack of maintenance capabilities, while pursuit of liberalisation has led to weakened control in the sector. Civil aviation oversight will be improved, parliament was told, through the recruitment of additional inspectors and air transport specialists.

Over the five years from 2008-13 the aviation industry had suffered 21 accidents, of which 15 could be attributed to human factors rather than technical failure or external circumstances.

Investigations are continuing into the fatal loss of a Bombardier CRJ200, operated by Kazakh carrier SCAT, on 29 January as the jet attempted to land at Almaty.