What is wrong if Rosneft buys rights of modernization of civilian airports of Kyrgyzstan including Manas Airfield?
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan: What is wrong if state-run oil company of Russia–Rosneft wants to buy rights of modernization of civilian airports of Kyrgyzstan including Manas Airfield previously controlled by US Army for 13 years? This is significant question in the minds of experts of Air travel industry nowadays as there is an alleged campaign going on in western media against handing over Manas to Russian company.
Official quarters in Bishkek working in travel and tourism industry claim that there is a massive campaign in western media through western funded Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and US funded online newspapers against travel and tourism industry of Kyrgyzstan— a tourism offering country having weakest air travel connections in Central Asia with the rest of the world. Official circles accuse that “US sponsored writers” are writing that Russia is on buying spree of national assets in land locked Central Asia country—Kyrgyzstan. “These US funded Western media organizations are calling handing over Manas airport to a Russian company as “potential risk to Kyrgyzstan’s sovereignty”. This is same air-field that had been in the use of NATO and US force for more than one decade before it was taken back from US by Kyrgyzstan in recently”, commented official circles. .
On-going negotiation between Russia and Kyrgyzstan indicates that Rosneft will take over Manas Air-field and will convert it into an International Airport catering domestic as well as international flights in and around Central Asia. Manas can be travel junction between China and other countries of Central Asia. Presently, Tashkent and Almaty airports are well equipped in the region—connecting Central Asia with the rest of the world. Manas Air field is outside Bishkek is empty and destered after US forces left it base. The Manas facility hosted US military for almost 13 years.
In February 2014, Rosneft signed a non-binding memorandum to purchase at least 51% share of Manas Airport. According to this memo, Rosneft also promises to spend up to US$1 billion for the shares and to create “a large-scale international logistics hub”. Meanwhile Rosneft also expresses its intentions to purchase 50% of fuel-distribution operations at Osh airport, Kyrgyzstan’s second largest.
Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev has already announced the National Strategy for Sustainable Development for reconstruction and modernization of the airports, and the creation of a global travel hub in Kyrgyzstan. Atambayev believes that criticism against handing over Manas to Russian firm is “ill motive” and those who are against making Manas Airport as an International Travel hub are against the development of travel and tourism in the country although Kyrgyzstan is a popular tourism destination in Central Asia.
“Those screaming that any percent cannot be given to Rosneft, all the more so 51%, they, in fact, want to put an end to the future of Manas,” said Atambayev in a television interview.