LONDON – Yesterday saw Air Astana resume services between Almaty and Bangkok in Thailand, using its Airbus A321neoLR aircraft.
The service has resumed on a five times per week basis, with this being converted into a daily service from November 29.
For this flight, it will depart Almaty at 0110 local time, arriving in Bangkok at 0855 local time, with the return departing at 1005 local and arriving back in Almaty at 1635 local.
Long-Standing Route Disrupted by COVID…
This route has been on the Air Astana books since 2003, but services were suspended to the outbreak of COVID-19. It is a popular route with Air Astana, with 900,000 passengers traveling on the route in 17 years.
Now that things are back to normal, this is why we are seeing the route return, following the success of the launched Almaty-Phuket route back in November 2021.
That rotation currently operates on a three-times-per-week basis, with more than 37,000 passengers already traveling on the route across a 74% load factor.
Commenting on the return to Bangkok was Adel Dauletbek, the VP of Sales & Marketing at Air Astana:
“We are delighted to resume services to Bangkok, which has traditionally proven to be one of the most popular destinations for travelers from Kazakhstan”.
“With the Thai authorities lifting all Covid related restrictions on foreign visitors, we look forward to a rapid resurgence of passengers traveling to Bangkok for business and vacation.”
Fleet Growth Continues…
The fleet growth at the carrier continues.
On October 15, Air Astana received its 9th Airbus A321 Long-Range aircraft, with the 10th scheduled for the end of this year.
The latest aircraft is on lease from Air Lease Corporation.
Air Astana received its first A321LR back in October 2019 and has been using this type of aircraft on international services to the following destinations:
- Sharm El Sheikh
Their aircraft are configured with 16 seats in Business Class and 150 in Economy.
The carrier has 13 Airbus A321neos, with, of course, the nine being LRs. As per Planespotters.net, below are the registrations for the respective A321neoLRs:
- EI-KGJ (Recently delivered).
In recent months, the airline has been expanding its brand on a major scale, with the A321neoLRs being a major part of that process.
Back in August, the airline laid out its long-term growth and development plans, which were quite a sight to see.
The airline achieved 3.9 million passengers, reported in the 1st half of the year.
This impressive figure overall represents a 9% increase in the same half-year in 2021. Air Astana never failed to live up to its hype and continued to expand and resumed services to destinations including London and Istanbul.
The airline also launched new flights to Greece. The airline also beefs up its frequencies to destinations including Dubai, New Delhi, and Phuket.
In addition, flights to the Thai capital, Bangkok, will be resumed after 2 years hiatus. This shows the airline is in full momentum in returning to its network.
The outlook for the airline is bright. The airline is committed to expanding its fleet despite recently leaving the pandemic behind, expanding to 59 aircraft by 2025. The airline also sees opportunities to develop maintenance services and crew training initiatives
Air Astana Group is one of the most forward-looking airlines in the Central Asian region, along with Uzbekistan Airways, and for the remainder of this year, the airline will welcome two more state-of-the-art Airbus A321LR aircraft, lifting the total fleet of aircraft to 10.
The group’s low-cost division FlyArystan will welcome three more A320neo aircraft, lifting the total fleet type to four. Air Astana Group has welcomed 13 new aircraft between mid-2020 (A Pandemic miracle!) and March 2022.
Moreover, there will be a further 24 aircraft awaiting to be welcomed by the airline by mid-2025. The airline is fully committed to becoming the region’s most advanced airline as the modernization process is in full swing.
With the fleet rapidly expanding, the Groups brand new flight crew training capabilities will be significantly expanded with the inauguration of the new center worth US$10 million in the country’s capital Nur-Sultan later this year.
The new training center will be equipped with Kazakhstan’s first full-flight simulator, which will not only benefit the training processes of the airline but also shave costs for Kazakhstan pilots to be trained outside.
With the new simulator, the group will shave off US$18 million over the next decade. Air Astana Group will also be expanding its in-house maintenance capability at its bases in the near future.
These developments allow the airline to maintain its status quo in being a regional leader in crew training and engineering services, making Air Astana Group a front-runner.
Peter Foster, President and CEO of Air Astana Group. “Air Astana has rapidly recovered despite an unprecedented series of operational challenges this year, with passenger traffic up 9% and seat capacity up marginally between January and July compared to the same period last year.”
“Given the strong expectation of continued growth in both international and domestic markets in the future, it is now timely for the Group to be significantly expanding the fleet, together with investing in new pilot training and maintenance facilities, to achieve long-term goals.”
Air Astana is in full steam to becoming a boutique and an efficiently run airline. It is one of the most successful airlines in transforming itself from an unknown airline to a reputable airline linking central Asia to Europe and South East Asia.