The national flag-carrier of Kazakhstan, Air Astana, has announced plans to start five new routes this winter, including three from Almaty, the former capital of the country.
|21 November||Almaty (ALA)||Dushanbe, Tajikistan (DYU)||3|
|28 November||Aktau (SCO)||Istanbul, Turkey (IST)||1|
|2 December||Almaty (ALA)||St Petersburg, Russia (LED)||2|
|2 December||Almaty (ALA)||Tashkent, Uzbekistan (TAS)||3|
|8 December||Astana (TSE)||Ekaterinburg, Russia (SVX)||2|
|Source: Air Astana|
All of these routes will be operated by the airline’s three new Embraer E190s once they are delivered in early 2011. Until then, the carrier’s A320s will operate the flights. According to the airline, the three new services from Almaty represent another significant step in developing the city as a major regional hub. Existing regional services already operate from Almaty to Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan, Novosibirsk in southern Russia and Urumqui in western China.
“Air Astana continues to grow in strength and reputation as Central Asia’s leading carrier, with these latest new services destined to prove popular with government, business and leisure travellers. More and more passengers will have the opportunity to conveniently connect to Air Astana’s award winning long-haul services from Almaty to major cites in Asia, Europe and the Middle East,” said Peter Foster, President of Air Astana.
Air Astana, the flag carrier of the Republic of Kazakhstan, experienced strong growth during the first half of 2010, with passenger numbers increasing by 14% and revenue jumping 24% to US$245 million compared to the same period in 2009. The carrier performed almost 13,000 scheduled flights, with an average passenger load factor of 66%. These figures were achieved despite operational disruptions caused by a very severe winter across Kazakhstan and closure of European airspace at the time of the Icelandic volcano explosion. Half yearly profit before tax was a record $33.5 million, up 34% over 2009.