Air Astana, the flag carrier of Kazakhstan, expanded its offering to London last week, when it commenced operations on the 4,800-kilometre route from Astana (TSE) to London Heathrow (LHR) on 31 October. The airline, which already serves the London airport with twice-weekly services from Almaty, the country’s former capital, now offers single weekly schedule on the newly launched route. 757-200s are deployed to serve the market. The only other carrier to provide non-stop services between Kazakhstan and the United Kingdom is British Airways, which offers thrice-weekly frequencies from London Heathrow to Almaty. Peter Foster, President of Air Astana, said: “We are delighted to be able to increase services to the United Kingdom. Not only are we increasing our current capacity between Kazakhstan and London Heathrow by 50%, we are directly connecting the two capital cities for the first time. Following quickly on the heels of Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to Kazakhstan, this step demonstrates the strengthening relationship between the two countries and our increasing focus on Astana in the run up to Expo 2017.” Air Astana launched services between Almaty and London in December 2003 and has carried more than 160,000 passengers on the route to date.