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Monday, March 25, 2013

Air Astana celebrates 10th anniversary of Kazakhstan to China Services


Air Astana, Kazakhstan’s award winning flag carrier marks the 10th anniversary of direct services between Kazakhstan and China with a major industry reception in Beijing today.

Air Astana operated its first flight from Almaty to Beijing on 3rd December 2002, with Boeing 737 aircraft initially operating two frequencies per week and the route currently served by Boeing 757/767 five times a week. Since the launch of services, Air Astana has carried 500,000 passengers and 7.5 million tons of cargo on the route, with an average 70% load factor being achieved over the past 30 months.

Launched in November 2008, the Astana to Urumqi flight was initially operated twice a week and was increased to four times a week in March 2013. The Almaty to Urumqi service was inaugurated with three times a week service in 2010 and is now operated daily.  A twice weekly service between Astana and Beijing launched in August 2012. Air Astana currently operates a total of 18 services a week between Kazakhstan and mainland China.

Air Astana also launched direct services between Almaty and Hong Kong using Boeing 757 aircraft in August 2012, with the frequency being increased to three times a week earlier this month. Together with its partner airlines, Air Astana offers convenient connections for passengers travelling to Guangzhou, Macau, Manila and other south east Asia destinations through Hong Kong, one of the region’s major hubs For passengers arriving in Almaty, Air Astana offers a rapidly expanding network of international services to Russia, Central Asia and the Caucasus, as well as a host of domestic destinations.

“Expanding political, business and tourism links between Kazakhstan and China continue to drive strong traffic growth between the two countries, with increased feed from Central Asia into the Astana and Almaty hubs also making a significant contribution.” said Peter Foster, President of Air Astana. “Frequency increases on earlier services and the launch of new services from Almaty to Hong and  from Astana to Beijing in 2012 reflect the fact that China is playing an increasingly important part in the strategic long-term development of Air Astana.”

Air Astana commenced regular flight operations on 15th May 2002 and currently operates a network of almost 60 international and domestic routes from hubs in Almaty, Astana and Atyrau. Air Astana flies an all western fleet comprising of two Boeing 767s, five Boeing 757s, eleven Airbus A320 family, and six Embraer 190s. Air Astana became the first carrier from Russia /the CIS /Eastern Europe to be awarded the prestigious 4-Star rating at the Skytrax World Airline Awards 2012 and was also named The Best Airline in Central and South Asia.

Air Astana is a full member of the International Air Transport Association and was the first airline in Kazakhstan to achieve EU EASA Part 145 aircraft maintenance certification.

Air Astana is a joint venture between Kazakhstan’s national wealth fund Samruk Kazyna and BAE Systems, with respective shares of 51% and 49%.