Airlines suspend flights to Almaty amid Kazakhstan unrest

Vladimir Tretyakov/

Several airlines, including Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA), flydubai, and Air Arabia have suspended their regular routes to Kazakhstan’s largest city, Almaty, as the country is embroiled in violent civil unrest. 

“Due to further developments, Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) has now decided not to offer any more regular flights to Almaty until further notice,” a spokesperson for the German air carrier told Reuters. 

On January 5, 2022, Almaty International Airport (ALA) was stormed by anti-government protesters, causing the suspension of flights. The airport was later retaken by governmental troops. 

The protest was sparked by a sudden rise in the price of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) after the government lifted price caps at the beginning of the year. Due to its low cost, many Kazakhs converted their cars to run on LPG. The demonstration then turned into a revolt against economic inequality and government corruption. As a consequence, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s government has resigned. 

Early on January 6, 2022, both Armenia and Russia confirmed that peacekeeping forces would be sent to Kazakhstan after Tokayev requested help from members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). The latter includes Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. 

The head of the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, announced that security was increased around the Baikonur Cosmodrome, a spaceport located in Kazakhstan but leased to Russia. “It was a night without incident at Baikonur,” Rogozin said on Twitter. “The situation in the city and at the facilities of the cosmodrome is under control.”

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