Kazakhstan urges citizens to use planes over cars
The government of Kazakhstan, an ex-Soviet country the size of Western Europe with an average weekly wage of $114 (69.75 pounds), has urged its citizens to make more use of small planes to replace the "anachronism" of long car journeys, Reuters reported.
Deputy Prime Minister Umirzak Shukeyev Tuesday announced new laws to cut the paperwork required for flights on private planes, some of which are "no more expensive than a jeep."
"Come to any African country and they have a small runway, they take a small plane when they need to, start it like a car and go shopping to a neighbouring village," Shukeyev told a government meeting.
"Driving a car to travel 1,000 kilometres (1,600 miles) is a total anachronism," he said.
Shukeyev did not say if the laws aimed to encourage Kazakhs to set up businesses with small planes to ferry passengers around or if the government's aim was to encourage individual purchases of light aircraft.
Most of Kazakhstan's 16 million citizens, whose average wage is around $455 per month, are used to long car and rail journeys, such as the 2,000-mile trip between main business hub Almaty and capital Astana.
But a small elite, many with close ties to the government and the oil business, use helicopters and private planes to traverse the country's vast steppe.