Home' Asian Aviation : AAV Dec Jan2011 2012. Contents 36 AsianAviation | DECEMBER 2011 / JANUARY 2012
Air Astana now serves 23 cities in Kazakhstan and 31 international destinations in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
The geography of Kazakhstan --
the largest land-locked country
in the world -- is as unique as it
is challenging. e shores of the
Indian and Arctic Oceans are
equally far from its borders and
while it depended on the Silk Route in ancient times
for trade, it is today highly dependent on aviation
for the movement of all commerce, trade, capital
Today, the responsibility for maintaining air
connectivity with the world rests on the shoulders of
Air Astana .
When it was established in 2001, Air Astana
was tasked with operating domestic ser vices to an
international standard, as the now-defunct Air
Kazakhstan was then the country s designated ag
carrier. As it approaches the tenth anniversary of the
start of its operations in February 2012, Air Astana
is a pro table, expanding global carrier with a clear
vision for its future growth strateg y.
Air Astana is the only Kazakhstan-based carrier
to be exempted from the European Union s blanket
ban on airlines from that country -- a strong
endorsement of the airline s focus on safety and
security. e airline rst passed IATA s Operational
Safety Audit in 2007 and continues to be strictly
compliant with the latest audit in September 2011.
It also maintains its eet to the uncompromising
standards of the EU s EASA 145 regulations.
Expanding fleet, network
Air Astana operates a eet of aircra that is tailored
speci cally to the routes it ser ves. As of October, this
included two Boeing 767-300ER jetliners, four 757-
200s, two Airbus A321s, seven A320s, one A319,
two Embraer 190s and six Fokker 50 turboprops.
Another E-190 and a 757 will join the eet before the
end of the year, with three more E-190s scheduled to
arrive in 2012 and a further six A320s over the next
two calendar years.
e airline s President Peter Foster con rms that
negotiations are ongoing with Boeing to rm up
its Letter of Intent, signed in December 2007, for
three of the company s latest 787 'Dreamliners , with
purchase rights for three more. Pending the delivery
of these aircra , Air Astana is considering a rm
order for six 767-300ERs, equipped with blended
winglets, with an option for four more. If ordered by
2012, these could be delivered in late-2013.
e company s two ex-KLM 767s are currently
being tted with such drag-reducing winglets and
having their cabins updated.
" e 757s will remain in the eet until 2015 or
2016," Foster says. " ese have fantastic engines,
long legs and are ideally suited for long , thin routes
to Europe and Asia. Similarly irreplaceable are the
[turboprop] Fokker 50s."
e company s newer E-190 regional jets are, for
now, unable to operate to Uralsk airport -- a region
with huge oil and gas elds -- because of runway
"We will maintain F50 operation into Uralsk until
end-2012 and hopefully by then, its runway will be
extended to permit jet operations," Foster says. He
adds that Air Astana is talking to Airbus about the
re-engined A320neo, but is not considering the
A321neo as a 757 replacement.
Air Astana now ser ves 23 cities in Kazakhstan, with
a trio of hubs that include Astana, Almaty and Atyrau.
Its international network covers 31 destinations
in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. While Asian
Air Astana succeeds
through measured growth
Now approaching its tenth anniversary, Kazakhstan's flag carrier Air Astana has big plans for the future, writes Kok Chwee Sim.
"Asia is playing an increasingly
important part in the strategic
long-term development of Air
Astana." -- Air Astana President
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