Air Astana, the national carrier of Kazakstan, is due to launch a cargo division. The airline will use three of its older Boeing 767 aircraft that previously carried passengers.
Air Astana is truly one up and coming airline to keep an eye on. Last year the airline launched a new low-cost subsidiary, Fly Arystan, and placed an order for the Boeing 737 MAX at the Dubai Airshow. The carrier is now due to start a foray into the cargo business. Air Astana Cargo is to be launched following successful ad-hoc cargo operations during the current crisis.
Air Astana is an up and coming airline. It is currently in the process of receiving brand new A321LRs from Airbus. Additionally, as mentioned, the airline launched a new low-cost carrier for Kazakstan, known as FlyArystan. This was proving to be a success. However, a spanner was thrown into the works for the whole industry when the current pandemic began.
Carrying passengers became difficult for airlines as governments around the world enacted travel restrictions designed to stop the spread of the virus. However, enterprising airlines turned their attention to cargo and, as such, were able to remain in the air.
Air Astana has already begun the process of founding its new cargo division. The airline is already converting one of its Boeing 767 aircraft into a makeshift freighter. Right now, it is in the process of amending technical documents and seeking approval for freight operations.
Once completed, Air Astana’s freight fleet will consist of three Boeing 767 aircraft. These aircraft are already a part of Air Astana’s passenger fleet. According to data from Planespotters, the airline’s three Boeing 767s have an average age of just 6.5 years. Each was delivered new to the Kazakh airline between 2013 and 2014.
Air Astana has recently been operating flights to transport freight around the world. With the lack of passengers caused by the current crisis, the Kazakh carrier turned to transporting medical equipment and supplies in response to the enormous demand that has arisen. In recent months it has seen “a strong increase in the demand for regional freight transport.”
Commenting on the new cargo fleet, Zhanna Shayakhmetova, Air Astana’s Director of Freight, said,
“Air Astana has rapidly met the immediate heightened demand for air freight by operating a Boeing 767 passenger aircraft, but we must strictly enforce European Aviation Safety Agency weight and volume regulations regarding cargo placed on seats. Once we start operations with the converted semi-cargo Boeing 767 aircraft, we’ll be able to considerably increase the volume of transported goods and offer our customers more flexible conditions.”
What do you make of Air Astana’s freight plans? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!