Air Astana launches new Turkey and Russia services

Air Astana launches new Turkey and Russia services

Air Astana, the flag carrier of the Republic of Kazakhstan, is launching a series of new routes from Almaty, Astana and Aktau to destinations in Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkey during November and December.

The new services from Almaty include St Petersberg in Russia (twice weekly from 2nd December), Dushanbe, capital of Tajikistan (three times weekly from 21st November) and Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan (three times weekly from 2nd December). Twice weekly services from Astana, capital of Kazakhstan to Yekaterinburg in southern Russia will commence on 8th December. A new once a week service from Aktau in western Kazakhstan to Istanbul will commence on 28th November.

The three new services from Almaty represent another significant step in developing the city as a major regional hub. Existing regional services already operate from Almaty to Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan, Novosibirsk in southern Russia and Urumqui in western China.

A fleet of new generation Embraer E-190 airliners have been selected to specifically operate on Air Astana’s expanding Central Asia network, with the first of three leased aircraft scheduled for delivery in early 2011. Airbus A320 Family aircraft operate these services in the interim.

“Air Astana continues to grow in strength and reputatioin as Central Asia’s leading carrier, with these latest new services destined to prove popular with government, business and leisure travellers. More and more passengers will have the opportunity to conveniently connect to Air Astana’s award winning long-haul services from Almaty to major cites in Asia, Europe and the Middle East,“ said Peter Foster, President of Air Astana.

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Air Astana, the flag carrier of the Republic of Kazakhstan, experienced strong growth during the first half of 2010, with passenger numbers increasing by 14% and revenue jumping 24% to US$245 million compared to the same period in 2009. The carrier performed almost 13,000 scheduled flights, with an average passenger load factor of 66%. These figures were achieved despite operational disruptions caused by a very severe winter across Kazakhstan and closure of European airspace at the time of the Icelandic volcano explosion. Half yearly profit before tax was a record $33.5 million, up 34% over 2009.

The airline commenced regular flight operations on 15th May 2002 and currently operates a network that serves 21 domestic and 23 international destinations from its hubs in Almaty, Astana and Atyrau.  Air Astana flies an all western fleet comprising of two Boeing 767s, four Boeing 757s, ten Airbus A320 Family and six Fokker 50 aircraft. Air Astana is a full member of the International Air Transport Association and is the only airline in Kazakhstan with EASA Part 145 aircraft maintenance certification.

Air Astana is a joint venture between Kazakhstan’s JS Company “Sovereign Wealth Fund SamrukKazyna” (51%) and BAE Systems (49%).