Kazakhstan protests: UAE suspends flights to Almaty amid unrest

Flydubai has temporarily ceased flights to and from Kazakhstan's largest city until at least Saturday

Dubai, February 20, 2012 - An Emirates Airlines plane takes off with a Fly Dubai 737 stationed on the tarmac at Terminal 2 at Dubai International Airport in Dubai City, Dubai February 20, 2012. (Photo by Jeff Topping/The National) STOCK
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Flights from Dubai to Kazakhstan’s largest city are suspended.

Flydubai has cancelled flights from Dubai to Almaty citing the ongoing situation in the Central Asian country.

The nation has announced a state of emergency until at least January 19 after unrest over rising fuel prices turned deadly. Amid the violence, Almaty Airport was reportedly seized by anti-government protesters, before being retaken by government forces and protesters stormed the mayor's office in Almaty.

The low-cost Dubai airline first cancelled flights between the two destinations on Wednesday, and has now said that flights will remain suspended until at least Saturday.

“Flydubai flights FZ 737/8 and FZ 1721/2 between Dubai and Almaty have been cancelled until January 8 due to the situation on the ground in Almaty in Kazakhstan,” a spokesperson for flydubai told The National.

Flights to Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan’s capital, continue to operate as scheduled with the Dubai airline monitoring events.

“Updates will be available on flydubai.com. We continue to monitor the situation and assess our flying schedule.”

Air Arabia, Lufthansa and Jazeera cancel Kazakhstan services

Kazakhstan is known for its ancient Silk Road and nomadic lifestyle. Photo: Unsplash

From Sharjah, Air Arabia has also cancelled flights to Almaty. The budget airline's website shows no scheduled departures to the city until at least Tuesday, January 11. The National has contacted the airline for a statement on the situation.

Kuwait’s Jazeera Airways and Germany’s Lufthansa have also announced the suspension of flights to Almaty amid the unrest.

From Abu Dhabi, Wizz Air operates to Almaty and Nur-Sultan. No cancellations are currently showing on the low-cost carrier's website. The National has contacted the airline for confirmation that scheduled flights remain unaffected.

Just over a four-hour flight time from the UAE, Kazakhstan is popular with tourists, who travel to the country to discover its ancient Silk Road history and nomadic lifestyle.

Riot police officers on patrol during rally over a hike in energy prices in Almaty, Kazakhstan, January 5, 2022. EPA

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said on Thursday that he had appealed to the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organisation, which includes five other former Soviet states, to combat what he called "terrorist groups" who had "received extensive training abroad".

On Wednesday, Kazakhstan's government resigned as protests led to clashes on the streets of the Central Asian country's biggest city.

At the start of the year, prices for liquefied gas in the country roughly doubled as the government moved away from price controls.

Updated: January 06, 2022, 10:15 AM