Air Astana Switches To Digital In Flight Magazines

Air Astana is substantially upgrading its inflight product and is now offering a range of digital print content onboard. The Almaty-based airline has just done a deal with a digital content provider that allows passengers to download content to their personal devices from over 1,000 titles in 20 languages before or after a flight.

Air Astana is now offering a range of newspapers and magazines in digital format. Photo: Air Astana

Air Astana steps up its inflight offering

Media Carrier, a Munich-based business, won a tender to provide digital print content to Air Astana’s passengers. Media Carrier is making its Media Box platform available to Air Astana. Via Media Box, Air Astana passengers will now have access to a wide range of publications free of charge.

Passengers will be able to download current editions of more than 1000 international newspapers and magazines. Once downloaded, passengers can read newspapers or magazines online or offline, either inflight or at another time.

According to Media Carrier, their Media Box platform is tailored to individual airlines, providing a bespoke and intuitive to use service for passengers. Media Carrier says a comprehensive and always up-to-date selection of top publications adds value to the passenger experience and has the potential to increase ancillary revenue.

An Airbus A321LR recently delivered to Air Astana. Photo: Air Astana

Media Carrier says the digital delivery of inflight print products gets heavy print material out of planes, reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Air Astana has spent the past several years striving to reduce its environmental impact via various measures. This deal adds to that.

Flying for less than two decades, Air Astana is the flag carrier of Kazakhstan. Air Astana has a fleet of over two dozen aircraft, mostly split between narrowbody Airbus planes and bigger Boeing jets. Normally, the airline flies to a range of destinations around its region and as far afield as Asia and Europe.

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Air Astana follows an airline industry-wide trend

Many readers will recall legacy airlines offering passengers a range of print publications just after boarding. Airline lounges frequently also offer a range of printed material. For short-haul domestic flights, complimentary printed newspapers would often be available at the departure gate.

While passengers usually appreciated the service, printed reading material is bulky and heavy. In a cost-conscious era, getting as many kilos as possible off planes is a priority for airlines. From an environmental perspective, the disposable nature of newspapers and magazines is also an issue.

In 2021, with passengers everywhere eagle-eyed for unsanitary inflight practices, germy much-thumbed copies of Vogue pose a potential health risk. Air Astana Project Manager Aigerim Zhambyl says reading printed material on personal devices can help minimize the risk of COVID-19.

The Media Box digital newspaper & magazine platform will upgrade Air Astana’s inflight offering. Photo: Air Astana

While the threat of COVID-19 may hasten the practice, most airlines have been reducing the amount of traditional printed material in planes and lounges for several years now. The airlines may pass it off as good environmental practice – and it is, but it is mostly about saving money.

That opens up opportunities for businesses like Media Carrier. They provide a similar service to what they are now providing Air Astana to around 20 other airlines. Their client list includes Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, and the Lufthansa Group.

Air Astana’s new range of digital print publications are now available and can be accessed by Air Astana passengers before and during their next flight.