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Çarşamba, 28 Şubat 2024

Air Astana Resumes Growth after Pivot from Russia


With a resolution to the Russia-Ukraine conflict appearing a distant prospect, CIS airlines such as Kazakhstan carrier Air Astana have turned their focus toward the domestic market and regional routes in Central Asia, China, India, and Europe. Air Astana flew six lucrative routes to Russia before it suspended its operations in March, mainly due to insurer constraints.

Of the 8.8 million passengers flying into and out of Kazakhstan’s domestic airports in the first half of the year, Air Astana flew 3.2 million; through July it flew 3.9 million passengers or 9 percent more than it carried over the same period in the previous year.

Despite a stop to flights to Russia, the airline’s network has bounced back with a resumption of flights to London, Bangkok, and Istanbul, and the launch of new services to Greece. Air Astana also plans to increase frequencies to Dubai, Delhi, and Phuket as it looks to rebuild its Asian network.

Air Astana Group added 13 new aircraft between mid-2020 and 2022 and took delivery of two Airbus A321LRs this year. By mid-2025, the airline expects its fleet count to number 59 as modernization sees some older aircraft replaced. Meanwhile, low-fare subsidiary FlyArystan plans to add three Airbus A320neos, taking its neo fleet to four.

The group plans to expand its flight crew training capability with the opening this year of a new $10 million training center in Nur-Sultan where it will house the country’s first full flight simulator. Air Astana estimates that training in-house rather than sending crewmembers to foreign centers will save up to $18 million over the next decade. The group also plans to expand its in-house maintenance capability at regional bases.

A joint venture between Kazakhstan’s Samruk Kazyna Wealth Fund and BAE Systems, the group operates a fleet of 38 aircraft that include the Airbus A320/A321neo/A321LR family, Boeing 767-300ER, and Embraer E190-E2.

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