Air Astana, the flag carrier of Kazahkstan, has signed a letter of intent to purchase 30 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft at the Dubai Airshow. This is apparently in an effort to expand its short-haul network. The list price for this order is $3.6 billion.
What are the details?
Air Astana has wowed onlookers with a huge order for 30 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft during the third day of the Dubai Air Show. The airline currently has a fleet of only 31 aircraft; this order nearly doubles their fleet size alone. The airline also has another 27 aircraft due to arrive over the next few years, and will likely bump up to 100 aircraft before the end of next year.
The order will be for specifically the Boeing 737 MAX 8 type, and it is believed that they did not consider any other types.
The new fleet of aircraft are expected to enter into service as soon as the later half of 2021. It is currently unknown where they will fly the new planes or how they will work with their strange fleet (see below). Perhaps they are looking at moving all their existing short-haul aircraft to one type to save on maintenance costs?
However, in the Boeing Press Release, they did mention the aircraft would be used for domestic services (it is a massive country after all) and a route to nearby Moscow.
“Since its launch in May this year, FlyArystan has exceeded all expectations and it is clear that low cost air travel has a great future in Kazakhstan and Central Asia,” said Peter Foster, President and CEO of Air Astana in the Boeing Press Release. “Air Astana has had a strong relationship with Boeing ever since the airline started flying in 2002 with a pair of 737NGs. Today we operate both 757s and 767s and we believe that the MAX will provide a solid platform for the growth of FlyArystan throughout our region, once the aircraft has successfully returned to service”.
Air Astana was quick to comment on the current grounding of the type, reaffirming their confidence in the aircraft and their respect for the professionalism of Boeing during this period. They are confident that the aircraft will take to the skies flaw-free before the end of next year.
“Air Astana has become one of the leading airlines in Central Asia with its deep focus on safety, reliability, efficiency and customer service. At Boeing, we share those same values and are honored to expand our partnership with the 737 MAX,” said Stan Deal, president and chief executive officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “We believe the efficiency and reliability built into the 737 MAX will be a great fit for FlyArystan. We look forward to working with Peter and his team to finalize an agreement that meets their fleet and operational requirements.”
Remember, this is just a letter of intent and there is a possibility for the airline to back out before actually committing. Likely they did this as they are still waiting to see what happens with the grounding of the aircraft type.
Who is Air Astana?
Air Astana is the national carrier of the Central Asian country of Kazahkstan, and currently operates a fleet of 37 aircraft to 64 destinations across the region. Their fleet make up is rather crazy, with 9 different types spread across the 37 aircraft.
Their fleet consists of:
|Boeing 787-8||3 on order|
These new aircraft will be used to expand the low-cost side of their fleet.
What do you think of this order? Let us know in the comments.