Air Astana, Kazakhstan’s award winning flag carrier, is pleased to be bolstering its presence in the Middle East with the recent inauguration of direct daily flights to Almaty International Airport (ALA) from Dubai International Airport (DXB).
The route is served by Airbus A320 aircraft in a two class layout – 16 business class and 132 economy seats with lead in economy class return fares starting at Dhs1745 / £297 GBP including all taxes. Almaty is complemented by Air Astana’s four times weekly services from the capital Astana (TSE) to Abu Dhabi which have been operating since 2010.
Peter Foster, President and CEO of Air Astana was in Dubai today to formally mark the commencement of the route and highlighted: “This is the right time to recommence our services to Almaty. The Middle East economy is much stronger. Dubai International is now the second biggest airport in the world in terms of passenger numbers, (achieving a 15 percent growth in 2013 to 65.8 million); there is a strong appetite for travel to new destinations and the positivity around the UAE for the city that will host Expo 2020 is clear to see. Importantly, with our new Visa Waiver Programme in place now for UAE travellers, we anticipate that Almaty will become an increasingly popular destination.”
Thanks to the newly announced Kazakhstan Visa Waiver Programme visitors from 10 countries, including nationals of the UAE, can now easily enter Kazakhstan without any prior notification. The arrangement makes it even easier for business and leisure travellers to fly with the airline, which also offers an online visa application facility for Kazakhstan tourists.
Almaty is the largest city in Kazakhstan and a major commercial, cultural and financial centre within Central Asia. Located in the mountainous area of southern Kazakhstan with the beautifully rugged, snow-capped mountains, right at the city’s doorstep, Almaty offers UAE-based visitors a relatively mild climate with pleasantly warm summers and moderately cold winters.
Its green parks and excellent museums, shops and markets, and Central Asia’s best selection of restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs make Almaty a desirable destination for leisure travellers. Great mountain hiking and skiing are right on the doorstep, with the nearby ski resorts of Chimbulak, Central Asia’s top skiing centre and Medeu which features the highest and one of the most famous ice rinks in the World. The warm hospitality from the Kazakh people and the outstanding natural beauty of the surroundings all add to Almaty’s appeal as an attractive short break for the UAE tourist.
Air Astana network now surpasses 40 international destinations
With the launch of its winter schedule at the end of October, Air Astana now operates scheduled international services to more than 40 cities in 18 countries throughout Asia, Central Asia / CIS / Caucasus, Europe and the Middle East. From 15th December, Air Astana’s Asian network will expand to include a new service from Astana to Bangkok which will complement the existing service from Almaty to Bangkok. It operates a thoroughly modern fleet of three Boeing 767-300ERs, five Boeing 757-200, thirteen Airbus A320/A321s (less than two years old) and nine Embraer E 190 regional airliners, with an average fleet age of 5.3 years.
Skytrax winner for three consecutive years
Air Astana was the first carrier within the CIS countries and Eastern Europe to receive a 4 star rating from Skytrax and has taken the accolade of Best Airline in Central Asia and India for three consecutive years – in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Air Astana also received the award for Best Staff Service in Central Asia and India for the second year this year, ranking the Kazakh flag carrier amongst the world’s best airlines for passenger service across its two class cabin – Economy Class and Business Class.
Customers in Economy Class enjoy international cuisine with a choice of hot meals and a selection of International wines. Business Class passengers can choose from a variety of meals, complemented by a selection of wines and champagne. On select long haul routes, they can enjoy can enjoy espresso, latte and cappuccino coffees. In flight Air Astana offers the latest new-release and international movies in the economy cabin. In Business Class flights over three hours, entertainment is delivered via iPads offering over 20 films, TV programmes, games and audio-on-demand albums.
Air Astana has codeshare agreements with Etihad Airlines in the UAE (in support of the former’s services to Almaty from Abu Dhabi), Asiana Airlines, Austrian Airlines and Turkish Airlines. As of 26th October Air Astana has entered to codeshare partnership with Air India. Air Astana is a joint venture between Kazakhstan’s national wealth fund Samruk Kazyna and BAE Systems, with respective shares of 51 percent and 49 percent.