Almaty International Airport (ALA) in Kazakhstan is set for key infrastructure upgrades with European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and International Finance Corporation (IFC) arranging loans of $150m each.

This financing will be used to strengthen operations at the airport, which used to serve nearly seven million passengers annually and manage up to 220 flights per day prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The loan will be provided to an investor consortium led by global airport operator TAV Airports and will support a $780m development project.

IFC and EBRD will also jointly mobilise a parallel loan amount of $78m from Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) and German development finance institution DEG.

EBRD president Odile Renaud-Basso said: “We are very proud to team up with the IFC, EDB and DEG to support such an important infrastructure project for both Kazakhstan and Central Asia. It will help create a major regional transport hub and will support the post-Covid-19 recovery.

“Over many years, we have worked with TAV Airports in various markets and are confident that the blend of our financial resources and their experience will make this another successful joint undertaking.”

Upon completion, the project will facilitate better regional and international connectivity for air travellers in Kazakhstan.

Additionally, a grant of $600,000 from the Global Environmental Facility is said to help the new airport terminal become the first Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies (EDGE) advanced-certified airport in Central Asia.

TAV Airports will implement EDGE standards in resource efficiency that are in line with the recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). These include practices for lowering noise, light, waste and greenhouse gas emissions, use of high-grade insulation materials, as well as water-efficient equipment.

Additionally, TAV airports will develop a training programme for young women and men with the cooperation of Almaty’s Civil Aviation Academy and Aviation College to improve employment opportunities in the region.

Last month, EBRD acquired an indirect equity stake in SOF Connect, the company managing Bulgaria’s Sofia Airport (SOF) through a concession agreement with the Bulgarian Government.