On Monday 21 May a group of 13 people gathered at the now well-known red/white cube at Schiphol for the fourth 4Aviation trip to the KADEX event at Astana airport in Kazakhstan. The group this year would consist of 26 participants with nine different nationalities. This time the tour looked slightly different from the previous editions because we would first visit Almaty for a platform tour at the airport there. After a prosperous and comfortable flight with an A330 from Turkish Airlines to Istanbul, another five participants joined the group. Another three participants flew directly to Almaty where we arrived around 6:30 in the morning (Tuesday 22 May 22 by now). Because we had agreed the meet our contact person at 8 o’clock, we had all the time to go through the formalities, to recover from the flight, to withdraw money and to store our check-in baggage.
Due to a communication issue, it took a couple of hours longer but around 11:00 we started the platform tour at this airport with her incredibly beautiful background of high snowy mountains. The weather was very pleasant and generally sunny. We were driven around in an airport bus and we could indicate where we would like to go. When we arrived at the place we could leave the bus to photograph the aircraft. The atmosphere was very relaxed and it was a special experience to be able to drive freely around on a civilian airport and to be able to photograph all operational and the many non-operational aircraft so easy. For the participants of this trip with an interest in civil aviation, and there were quite a few, the many colourful Fokker 100s from Bek Air were one of the highlights. Various government aircraft were also present, such as the Air Force, the Border Guard, the Ministry of Emergency Services and Government aircraft. Photographing these aircraft was more sensitive than the other aircraft that were present. The presence of a maintenance company with roughly twenty Mi-24s and some Mi-8s made the heart beat faster. This area was unfortunately off-limits for us, but with some effort some of these helicopters were visible.
After driving around the platform for four hours, we said goodbye to our host and then waited for our flight to Astana (around seven in the evening). While we were waiting we heard that there had been severe weather in Astana that day and that an A320 from Air Astana had been blown off the runway. This, of course, led to delays, but by the time our flight departed the situation had returned to normal and so we arrived in Astana on time. From there, because we no longer had to go through immigration, we quickly found our way to the hotel where most people where quickly off to bed (after not having seen one in 35 hours).