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By air in Almaty


By air in Almaty

For people from most countries, the easiest way to get to Kazakhstan is by air. Several airlines have regular flights into Almaty, including the low-cost carrier airBaltic from Riga, Lufthansa, CSA, Etihad Airways, KLM, bmi and Turkish Airlines, (Turkish twice daily, www.turkishairlines.com) to name a few. It's roughly a 7-8 hour flight from Europe. Kazakhstan Airlines is no longer operational, leaving Air Astana the national carrier of the country and operator of most domestic routes. Air Astana, with a fairly modern fleet of Airbuses and Boeings, has direct flights from major European cities such as London, Frankfurt and Amsterdam, and is a comfortable and reasonably priced alternative to the European airlines. Visas must be obtained in advance of arrival, as they are no longer available on arrival at the airport, (unless you are arriving from a country that has no consulate, and that type of plane-side visa usually needs to be coordinated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at least one week in advance). Easy connections from Almaty include Moscow, London Heathrow, Amsterdam, Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, Istanbul, Seoul, Beijing, Delhi,Tehran IKA and Dubai with direct flights. Etihad Airways, [www.etihadairways.com], flies 4 times a week to Abu Dhabi, Air Arabia flies to Sharjah twice a week and Air Astana flies to Dubai daily. The airport is small, but getting busier by the day. Sometimes, several flights depart around the same time, meaning shocking queues and waits for no apparent reason. Be early, and expect delays to your flight. Lots of departures from Almaty end up leaving a bit late, but most arrivals are pretty timely. A taxi from the airport to the city costs about $20-25. When leaving by air, you need to fill out a customs declaration form. There is a multilingual computerised kiosk available but don't bother with this - it's quicker and easier to fill one out by hand at the stand immediately opposite the entrance to the check-in area. The forms are available in several languages including English and German. Check-in desks open around 3 hours before flight departure and you are not permitted into the check-in area until the desks for your flight have opened. Your customs form will be examined when entering the check-in area; there may be substantial queues. There are usually several queues for passport control; experience says that it is best to avoid the right-most queue as air-crew commonly queue-jump this one, leading to delays at the passport kiosk.

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Almaty Travel Guide from Wikitravel. Many thanks to all Wikitravel contributors. Text is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0, images are available under various licenses, see each image for details.

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