Etihad Airways is to launch flights between Abu Dhabi and Kazakhstan’s largest city Almaty on 2 December 2008.
Amalty will be served by non-stop, four times a week from Abu Dhabi with the airline, using Airbus A319 aircraft configured to carry 104 passengers with 20 seats in business class and 84 in economy class.
Since gaining independence in October 1990, Kazakhstan has benefited from major foreign investment, particularly in the oil and gas sector which has brought rapid economic growth to the country.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ chief executive, said, “With its vast oil and gas fields, Kazakhstan is sitting on some of the richest mineral resources in the world. Despite its enormous economic potential, this is a market however which at present is under-served in terms of air links.
“Foreign companies are investing heavily in Kazakhstan and we anticipate substantial demand for our flights, not just between Almaty and Abu Dhabi but also onward onto the rest of our network. As two major oil-producing countries, strong links already exist between the UAE and Kazakhstan, which Etihad is very keen to develop further.”
Kazakhstan is already among the world’s top 20 oil producers and expects to be one the world’s top oil exporters in the next decade or two, as foreign investment in new pipelines continues. The country is expected to pump more than 3.5 million barrels of oil a day in the coming decade. It also has ambitions to pump up to 45 billion cubic metres of natural gas a year by 2015.