The airport was founded in 1935. Up to 1990 it was the part of Kazakh Department of Civil Aviation. On April 26, 1991, the airport was re-organized into Alma-Ata Airport, and since 1993 it runs as an independent business unit. In 1994, it was re-organized into Almaty Airport OJSC, and later re-named to Almaty International Airport JSC.
In 2000, the first cargo partner of Almaty International Airport was EL-AL Israel Airlines operating at that time two flights per week on Boeing 747. Gradually, estimating the perspective of geopolitical location of the airport and its growing technical level, the EL AL increased number of its operations.
In December 2002, Almaty airport began fog dispersal operation by way of artificial seeding of the freezing fog using the liquid nitrogen.
The method consists in lowering the air temperature to the levels that lead to crystallization of the moisture in the fog because of the deep and rapid drop in the air temperature. A significant drop in the air temperature is provided by dispersing of liquid nitrogen with the help of a ground generator of the ice small dispersed particles.
In early 2003, following the passenger services, the cargo subdivision of the known KLM began operating 6 flights per week to Almaty airport.
At the end of the same year, the equally well-known FedEx became a partner of Almaty International Airport operating 4 flights per week. Since March 1, 2005, FedEx has increased frequency of operations up to 50 flights per month, and has begun performing the flights en route Hong Kong – Almaty – Paris, and Shanghai – Almaty – Frankfurt.
Almaty airport can accommodate two FedEx’s aircraft simultaneously. They unload the cargo from one aircraft and load onto another. Such operation is very favorable for the airline, as it enables to expedite the cargo delivery from one point to another, and save resource of aircraft. In prospect, FedEx plans to get the line maintenance under the program A-check for its aircraft at Almaty International Airport. During the summer period A-check is directly performed at an aircraft parking area, and during the winter period it is performed at an equipped hangar complex.
In 2004, Lufthansa Cargo and Asiana came to Almaty International Airport. During the same period, Russia’s largest cargo carriers Volga-Dnepr and Antonov Airlines began operating the flights on the famous An-124 Ruslan and An-225 Mriya, the largest aircraft in the world.
In December 2004, a new passenger terminal was opened. To satisfy passenger needs, the passenger terminal is equipped with the up-to-date life support system, building management system, flight information system, interior and exterior video surveillance system, public address system, lost and found system, etc.
In January 2005, an American airline Polar Air Cargo together with Atlas began using the Almaty airport for flights en route Shanghai – Almaty – Amsterdam, increasing the frequency up to 7 flights per week.
In February 2005, Ocean Airlines, an Italian airline, began operating the flights with technical landing at Almaty International Airport. The airline operates Boeing 747-200 en route Brescia – Almaty – Hong Kong, Brescia – Almaty – Shanghai and back 4 times per week.
At the end of August, 2005, Cargolux launched a flight program via Almaty en route Hong Kong – Almaty – Baku – Luxemburg, and Luxemburg – Hong Kong – Almaty – Luxemburg on Boeing 747-200, 3 times per week.
In November 2005, China Easter Airlines began operating the flights en route Shenzhen – Almaty – Luxemburg 4 times per week on Boeing 747-200.
In June 2006, the air service agreement was concluded between FedEx and Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan significantly expanding the scope of the airline’s activity up to the seventh freedom of the air.
In July 2006, Malaysia Airlines began operating the Boeing 747-200 en route Kuala Lumpur – Shanghai – Almaty – Amsterdam 4 times per week.
In June 2007, business terminal opened its doors. The refurbished building which is a unique urban architecture monument has an architectural historic significance. Design works were managed by Italian architect, and by means of style conformity of interior elements and coloristic solutions he was succeed in creating the specific comfort and cosiness atmosphere. The business terminal specializes in passenger service of charter flights. In business terminal lounges passengers can receive a wide range of business services: conduct negotiations, and hold press-conferences. Duty Free shop, wide assortment of bar, cozy interior and high technical equipment are available for passengers.
Currently, such airlines as Turkish Airlines, MNG Airlines, MY Cargo, and MK Airlines operate cargo flights with traffic rights to Almaty airport.
Based on the negotiations, in 2007, UPS, the world famous American airline, began operating the scheduled flights to Almaty airport. And Yangtze River Express, a Chinese airline, expressed its intention to launch a flight program as well.