LONDON – Kazakh carrier Air Astana is set to resume flights from Almaty to Beijing, after a two-and-a-half-year hiatus because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The flights are set to resume on November 22, operating one time weekly on Air Astana’s A321LR aircraft.
The re-start to Beijing
In a recent announcement from the carrier, Air Astana announced the return of their Beijing services, which they initiated in 2002, but stopped in 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic emerged.
The re-started service will operate a once-per-week frequency, however, that is initial, and the service could see an increased frequency later. In addition to Beijing, Air Astana also operates to Chengdu, however, with a twice-weekly service.
The service is set to be flown by Air Astana’s A321LR aircraft, which their fleet has nine of, to this day.
Upon entry to Beijing however, passengers are required to remain under a 10-day quarantine, including the requirement of obtaining a health code issued by the Chinese embassy in Kazakhstan – That applies to travellers as well as transfers, from Kazakhstan.
Travellers are also required to show a negative PCR test, taken no later than 24 and 48-hours prior to departure, with issues from two different laboratories.
Second re-start in Asia this month
Beijing is not the only Asian route that Air Astana have re-started this month, as they just resumed operations on the Almaty to Bangkok, Thailand, last week.
The re-initiated route will operate a five-times-weekly frequency, also operated by Air Astana’s Airbus A321neoLR aircraft. The service will however turn to a daily service from November 29.
This route also serves a long history with Air Astana, and dates back to 2003, but alike the Beijing service, the route was put on an indefinite hold due to the outbreak of Covid-19.
The Bangkok route remains as one of two Thailand routes, with Phuket being a new destination launched back in November of last year. However, that route saw success and operates on a three-times-weekly basis with an average load factor of 74%. You can read further AviationSource coverage of this here.
Ever growing A321LR fleet
An exclusive detail mentioned in both of the re-starts, is the flights being served with Air Astana’s Airbus A321neo LR aircraft, which the carrier is still taking delivery of, with one more being delivered by years end.
Prior to operating the A321neo LR, Air Astana operated the Boeing 757; however, the A321neo LR eventually turned out to be the 757’s replacement, as it carries a great amount of passengers in a narrow-body airframe, which the 757 also did.
Just under a month ago, Air Astana took delivery of their ninth Airbus A321neo LR-aircraft, with a tenth one scheduled for delivery. The carrier has a total of 13 A321neo-aircraft, nine of which are the LR (Long Range) version.
Air Astana received their first aircraft of the type back in October of 2019, and has since served it to destinations such as Antalya, Bangkok, London, Phuket, Sharm El Sheikh, Frankfurt, Istanbul and Dubai .
With a two-class configuration, Air Astana offers a 16-seat Business Class, together with 150 seats in Economy Class.
Air Astana is showing great progress in returning to a normal state after two years of lockdowns and restrictions, which of course hit not only the world, but its industries hard. The aviation industry was of course no exception.
The re-launch of both the Almaty-Beijing, and Bangkok route, demonstrates that the airline is in full momentum in returning to its pre-pandemic network.