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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Air Astana expands central Asia hub in Almaty

Air Astana, the flag carrier of the Republic of Kazakhstan, is celebrating its eighth anniversary today with plans to expand its Central Asia hub in Almaty. New services will be launched to Urumchi in western China; Dushanbe, capital of Tajikistan and Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan during the second half of 2010.

Regional services already operate from Almaty to Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan and Novosibirsk in southern Russia. Additional new routes to other cities in southern Russia, including Omsk and Yekatenburg are also under consideration.

A fleet of new generation Embraer E-190 airliners have been selected to specifically operate on Air Astana’s expanding Central Asia network, with the first of three leased aircraft scheduled for delivery in early 2011. Airbus A320 Family aircraft will operate these services in the interim.

“Services launched from Almaty to Central Asian destinations in 2008/09 have proved enormously popular with government, business and leisure travellers and we are delighted to now start offering more destinations in China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Passengers travelling from Central Asian cities have the opportunity to conveniently connect to Air Astana's long-haul services from Almaty to major cites in Asia, Europe and the Middle East,“ said Peter Foster, President of Air Astana.

Air Astana achieved a record profit after tax of $49 million on revenues of $546m for the full year 2009, a gain of 176% over 2008 and a 34% increase over the previous best year of 2007. This was in spite of a decline in revenues of 16%.

The airline commenced regular flight operations in May 2002 and currently operates a network that serves 21 domestic and 23 international destinations from its hubs in Almaty, Astana and Atyrau. Air Astana flies an all western fleet comprising of two Boeing 767s, four Boeing 757s, ten Airbus A320 Family and six Fokker 50 aircraft. Air Astana is a full member of the International Air Transport Association and is the only airline in Kazakhstan with EASA Part 145 aircraft maintenance certification.

Air Astana is a joint venture between Kazakhstan’s JS Company “Sovereign Wealth Fund SamrukKazyna” (51%) and BAE Systems (49%).

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