Air Astana Receives Stunning New Airbus A321LR

Air Astana has held a high profile ceremony to introduce its newest aircraft, the A321LR. As the first neo LR of this type in the fleet, and the first in the CIS, the induction of this plane into the Kazakhstan carrier’s stable was a significant occasion indeed. We take a close look at the interior, and what the aircraft means for this up and coming airline.

Air Astana A321neo
The airline becomes the first in the CIS to operate the LR version of the A321neo. Photo: Air Astana

Kazakhstan airline Air Astana has held a ceremony to introduce its gorgeous new A321LR to the world. The aircraft was presented by the airline at a glitzy ceremony held at Astana’s technical center in Nursultan Nazarbayev International Airport earlier today.

Astana is the first airline in the CIS to operate the A321LR, and is on track to receive six more of the airliners in the coming 12 to 18 months. All will be leased from AerCap, and will be used to phase out its fleet of aging Boeing 757 jets.

Air Astana ceremony
The aircraft was unveiled at a ceremony today. Photo: Air Astana/Emerald Media

Peter Foster, President and CEO of Air Astana, commented in a press release,

“The arrival of the A321LR ‘Super Arrow’ aircraft represents another major step in the process of fleet modernization, with the new aircraft offering the latest technologies, low emissions & noise, operational efficiency and passenger comforts.”

Although Air Astana took delivery of the A321neo officially from Airbus in late September, this ceremony marks the official launch of the aircraft, and our first close up look at the interior

What can we expect from Air Astana’s A321LR?

The aircraft is built for comfort from the ground up, and Air Astana has employed some of the latest technology to ensure long hauls can be a pleasure on board.

Air Astana business class
The business class cabin. Photo: Air Astana / Emerald Media

Inside the aircraft, business class consists of 16 lie-flat seats, using the latest Thomson Vantage seat. Seats are in a 2-2 configuration, although four are in a 1-1 layout with the inimitable ‘throne’ seats, giving passengers extra personal space.

The entire business class cabin is fitted out with 16-inch screens, equipped with Zodiac RAVE inflight entertainment. This is the same system as passengers will find on the rest of Astana’s fleet,  but with larger screens than were previously used in business on the 757s.

Economy plus is the airline’s premium economy cabin. On this A321neo, it’s a small cabin of two rows in a 3-3 layout. Back in economy, the airline has picked Recaro for the 3-3 seating. Screens here are 10 inches wide and the cabin features bespoke designed curtains and seat covers.

What does the A321LR mean for Air Astana?

With a range of up to 4,000nm, the A321LR brings Air Astana the potential to tap into new long haul markets that would not have previously been possible for the airline. Already mentioned are destinations within Asia and Europe, adding to Astana’s strategy for growth and network expansion.

Air Astana A321LR
The A321LR opens new opportunities for Air Astana. Photo: Air Astana

Aside from a handful of Embraer, Astana’s fleet is looking decidedly Airbus heavy. The four 757s will be phased out as more A321s are delivered. It’s not clear yet what the future is for the 767s in its fleet, although at just 5.8 years average age, it’s likely they will be staying for some time yet.

As well as this, the airline operates eight A320s, four A321s, three A320neo and three A321neo. It has orders in place for three Boeing 787=8 Dreamliners, although these will not begin delivering until 2023 at least.

Are you excited for Air Astana’s A321LR? Booked to fly, perhaps? Let us know in the comments.