Air Astana is gearing up for a jam-packed summer of new routes by adding its eighth Airbus A321LR to the fleet.
On May 5, Air Astana added additional high-quality capacity with the arrival of another Airbus A321LR. By the end of the year, the airline will add two more of the fuel-efficient A321LR aircraft.
The new A321LR is leased from Air Lease Corporation (ALC), adding to the three ALC already had on lease to Air Astana.
The rest are leased with financing spread across nine lessors. The world’s largest aircraft lessor, AerCap Holdings has nine Airbus A320 family aircraft with Air Astana.
The A321LR is opening new routes for Air Astana
The new A321LRs have a two-cabin layout, with 16 seats in business class and 150 in economy class. All seats have individual inflight-entertainment screens.
They operate routes to London, Dubai, Frankfurt, Istanbul and Antalya in Turkey, Podgorica in Montenegro and Sharm-El-Sheikh in Egypt. In Asia, they go to South Korea’s capital, Seoul and the popular beach resort of Phuket in Thailand.
On April 5, Air Astana announced it is commencing flights from Almaty and the Kazakhstan capital of Nur-Sultan to Heraklion, on the Greek island of Crete.
Flights will depart Almaty International Airport on Tuesday and Thursday and from Nursultan Nazarbayev International Airport (NQZ) on Monday and Wednesday.
The A321LR flights will arrive at Heraklion International Airport (HER) and take advantage of landing slots that fell empty due to the sanctions on Russian airlines. Before the sanctions, no slots at Heraklion were available to Astana for the summer peak season.
Air Astana is making good use of the longer range of the A321LR, particularly on the 11-hour direct flight from Almaty to London Heathrow Airport (LHR). The direct flight to Heraklion is a more sedate 6:40 hours, but still long enough for the comfortable and quiet cabin to make passengers happy.
With the conflict in Ukraine, London and Frankfurt flights are taking an arc-shaped route to skirt around the closed airspace. The path of Air Astana KC921 to Frankfurt shows the aircraft heading south from Almaty, flying over Turkey and heading north through Bulgaria and Austria and on to Frankfurt. The Heathrow flight will probably follow a similar route while the conflict rages.
Flyarystan is helping to boost the COVID recovery
Air Astana lost $94 million in 2020, but that was somewhat mitigated by combined profits of $66.1 million in 2019 and 2021. Its budget carrier, FlyArystan, carried 3.1 million passengers in 2021, while Air Astana marginally bettered it with 3.3 million of its own.
FlyArystan uses a fleet of nine Airbus A320-200 and one A321-200neo to operate international routes to Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, the UAE and Uzbekistan, and domestic routes in Kazakstan.
With pent-up demand for summer holidays driving bookings Air Astana has the right fleet for the new routes it is launching and should have a very successful 2022.
If you have flown on one of Air Astana’s A321LRs, please let us know how the experience went?