Kyrgyzstan and Russia have discussed the establishment of a logistics centre at Manas international airport, the press service of Kyrgyz Transport and Communications Ministry said, KirTAG reported on Thursday.
According to the report, within the first stage of consultations the Russian Transport Ministry delegation which included representatives of the Department of State Policy in Civil Aviation, Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsia), Aeroflot - Russian Airlines, Polet Airlines, Volga-Dnepr Airlines visited Manas and became acquainted with the facility's infrastructure.
"Central Asia is becoming an increasingly important region for international civil aviation for both passenger and cargo transportation. Manas has to become a major centre of international logistics and increase cargo flights between the developed markets of Western Europe and South-East Asia through Kyrgyzstan. This will shorten the distance during the creation of the so-called 'southern route', "the Transport and Communications Ministry said.
'Kyrgyzstan can be considered as the best place for developing a modern air freight transit complex due to its geographical location. Priority relations between Kyrgyzstan and China and a tax-free economic zone at the airport will promote a favourable investment climate', the press service said.
The cargo complex at Manas international airport is currently designed to process 200 tons of cargo a year.
On December 24, Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev confirmed that following the withdrawal of the U.S. military, the international airport at Bishkek has to become purely a civilian facility.
The Transit Centre, formerly called a military base was opened at Manas international airport in late 2001. The centre is a major logistics hub for transportation of goods and the antiterrorist coalition forces to Afghanistan. An agreement on the placement of a U.S. air base in Kyrgyzstan is valid until 2014. Atambayev has repeatedly said that the country will not extend the stay of foreign troops at its civil airport under any circumstances.