23 Sep 2019 11:05

Kazakhstan's Economy Ministry launches probe into Air Astana, SCAT over ticket prices

NUR-SULTAN. Sept 23 (Interfax) - The Committee on Protection and Development of Competition, part of Kazakhstan's National Economy Ministry, has launched an investigation into Air Astana and SCAT Airlines over high ticket prices, the ministry said on Saturday.

"In order to study ticket-pricing practices in the aviation industry, the Competition Protection Committee has initiated an investigation into Air Astana and SCAT Airlines over allegations that they have abused their dominant positions," the statement reads.

The investigation was launched after Civil Aviation Committee lodged a complaint about increases in the cost of air travel.

Air Astana said last week that it is complying with the Kazakh president's recommendation to lower prices through increased sales of cheap tickets for FlyArystan services.

In his annual address to the nation, President Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev asked the government to address this issue, saying, "It raises questions that tickets of the main airline are much more expensive than in Europe. What justifies the high cost of services? As a result, Kazakhstan's aviation industry is losing its competitiveness."

Air Astana is owned by the Kazakh government (51%) and the UK's BAE Systems Ltd. (49%).