Kazakhstan’s flag carrier, Air Astana, has no immediate need for its Boeing 787 Dreamliner order, according to the airline’s CEO Peter Foster. Foster made the comments during a recent interview with Simple Flying.
In February 2012, Air Astana placed an order for three Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft. Since then, the delivery of these aircraft has been pushed back three times, with the current first delivery scheduled for 2023. While there is no immediate need for these aircraft due to the current aviation situation, the airline is confident that it will eventually take delivery of the aircraft.
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Long-haul markets on their knees
The current pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the aviation industry. While domestic and short-haul flying is starting to recover to some extend, long-haul remains “dead in the water,” according to Foster. As a result, it doesn’t make sense for Air Astana to take the Boeing 787 Dreamliner at the current moment in time.
Speaking to Simple Flying, Foster commented,
“I look I mean we we have no immediate need for that aircraft, you know, as I mentioned at the start of this call. Long haul markets are, you know, on their knees on their backs really. So we have, we have no need for that aircraft in the in the near term, but you know it is a great aircraft and I’ve no doubt there will come a point when Air Astana takes delivery of it, but it is not something that we’re thinking of, you know, in the in the in the in the near future.”
The Airbus A321LR is perfect right now
Before the current situation, Air Astana took delivery of new Airbus A321LR aircraft, which are being used primarily on the airline’s European routes. Foster seemed very impressed with these aircraft, noting “the timing of that [delivery] could not have been better.”
The Airbus A321LR has several benefits for both Air Astana and its passengers. Firstly, it is small. This means that fewer passengers are required to book onto any given flight for it to break even. However, its extended range means that it can be used for longer hops, where previously, a larger aircraft with greater fuel capacity would’ve been needed. Finally, the neo engines of the A321LR mean that it is more fuel-efficient than its predecessors.
However, it is not just the Kazakh airline that is enjoying the benefits of the aircraft. Those who travel aboard the craft have also been raving about it, be they pilots, cabin crew, or passengers. Foster pointed out that the aircraft is ‘adored’ by pilots and crew while being ‘deeply loved by passengers’.
Commenting on the type, Foster said:
“With that super configuration that we’ve got on it, it’s like a private jet. It’s incredibly popular.”
When do you think Air Astana will take its Boeing 787s? Have you flown on their A321LR? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!