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STUDENT GUIDE TO RUSSIA  / KYRGYZ AIRPORTS
11.02.2016


Kyrgyz Airports
Int'l Arrivals, Departures & Domestic Travel

In This Guide

  1. Kyrgyz Airports 101
  2. Transfers
  3. Entering Kyrgyzstan (What to expect at the airport)
  4. Domestic & International Flights

 

1. Kyrgyz Airports 101     back to top

Kyrgyzstan has two airports with incoming international flights – the Manas International Airport (site in Russian) in Bishkek (which by far has the most incoming international flights), and Osh Airport in the southern city of Osh. Osh Airport is the main air terminal in the South, with daily connections to Bishkek. You will likely have to make connections to eventually reach Kyrgyzstan, especially if you are traveling from the US - make sure you look into any transit visas or other logistical concerns you may need along the way!

 

2. Transfers     back to top

Make sure to check with the airline about what to do if you have a connecting flight. Ask about how you and your baggage will make the connecting flight. Some airlines have an agreement such that the luggage can be checked in for the final destination; if not, you’ll have to collect the luggage and check it back in for your next flight.

Transfers can be particularly tricky in Moscow, which has several airports in multiple locations. If your next flight will require transferring between airports in Moscow (for example, between Domodedvo and Sheremetevo or even if you need to switch terminals in Sheremetevo in some cases), you will need a Russian transit visa. You would go to the next flight via the transit corridor, and wait in the transit zone. No matter what you do you must NOT exit to customs/passport control as you’d need a Russian transit visa. Note that if you are flying via Moscow you might get handed a migration card on the flight to Moscow - but that is only required to be filled out if you are entering Moscow and not if you just transit. This means that you need to make sure that your luggage is checked all the way through to your final destination. You will not be able to claim the luggage and recheck it without a transit visa. At last check, the major exception to this was, if flying via Aeroflot, with incoming and outgoing flights from Sheremetevo, a transit visa was avoidable in most cases if the gap between flights was shorter than 24 hours.

 

3. Entering Kyrgyzstan by Air     back to top

You can roughly expect the following sequence of events upon arrival:

  • After exiting the plane, you will be brought to the passport check area. If you will need a visa, you will need to recieve one before going through passport control. See our page on Kyrgyz visas to determine if you will need a visa and, if needed, how to obtain one.
  • Passport control will take your passport and any other needed documents. The passport will be stamped and returned to you. It is also useful to have the invitation letter issued by your Kyrgyz host institution on hand alongside the passport, since showing that will answer most of the questions the immigration officer might want to ask. SRAS requires that you read our page on Kyrgyz visas before departing for our programs.
  • Baggage claim. Carousels are usually not marked - but there are not many and everyone just figures out where their bags are. Collect them and head toward customs (indicated by red and green signs). Have your luggage tickets handy (usually in sticker form on your ticket holder) because airport officials may check them against the tags on the bags you are bringing out of the baggage claim to make sure they are yours.
    • If your luggage is lost go to the booth inside the luggage area and fill out a claim slip. Ask the person at the booth for a phone (they will generally let you use theirs) and call one of the numbers on your SRAS emergency card if you need help.
  • Arrivals hall. Students on our programs will be met by an SRAS representative holding a sign with their name. The area is not large, but the crowd can be thick, so if you do not see someone right away, do not go far. If your flight has arrived early, wait near the exit from customs.
    • Money. There is an exchange booth in the airport, but if you’re an SRAS student, your local coordinator will take you to an exchange booth during orientation that has better rates – better to wait than exchange right away, except in an emergency. If you do exchange money at the airport, keep the sum under $50 and exchange more somewhere else later.

 

4. Domestic & International Flights      back to top

At one time there were approximately 50 landing strips functional in Kyrgyzstan, most of which were built during the Soviet period to serve as an airbase strategically placed close to China. However, only a few of these are still in service today.

The national carrier is Air Kyrgyzstan, or AC Kyrgyzstan/Авиакомпания Кыргызстан (formerly Altyn Air). The site is currently in Russian only. The airline has regular domestic flights to/from Bishkek from Osh, Batken, and Jalal-Abad. It also has some international destinations. However, the airline has been banned in the EU for safety or security reasons since November 2010, along with 26 other air carriers operating in Kyrgyzstan. Turkish Air, which operates freely in Kyrgyzstan and Europe, is a better bet. For a list of all airlines that that service Kyrgyzstan, click here.

If you use Air Kyrgyzstan, domestic and international flights are allowed only 15kg of checked luggage (25kg if you fly business class) and 5kg of carry on. Some other airlines (such as Turkish Air) will allow up to 20kg for checked luggage (30kg if you fly business class).

  • For domestic flights, arrive at the airport one hour before departure.
  • Ensure that you have all of your documents - tickets, passport, visa, and customs form if you filled one out when entering.
  • Make sure you have informed SRAS and your host (for SRAS students, this would be London School) of your travel plans - this is essential for maintaining your registration and keeping you legal! 
  • At many airports you will be brought to the plane by bus.

 


Study in
Kyrgyzstan

Click to find study abroad opportunities in Central Asia!
The Library:
Central Asia

Click for more info on Central Asia - home of the Gabala radar station.
More Central
Asian Places

Click to find out more about places in Central Asia.

Find Out More!
 
Kygyz Politicos
Kyrgyz Phrase Book
The SRAS Russia Library
SRAS Travel Services
The SRAS Newsletter
Journal for Students
More Free Resources!

 

Questions or comments?
Contact the editor.



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