Kazakh carrier Air Astana announced yesterday that it would resume scheduled flights out of the country’s two largest cities, Almaty and Nur-Sultan, to regional airports across Kazakhstan. This resumption of services is to follow the end of the national state of emergency, which will officially take place on 11 May.
According to the airline, services will resume to the cities of Aktobe and Kyzylorda from Almaty and Nur-Sultan. These will re-start on 12th and 13th May, respectively. Meanwhile, flights to Oskemen from Almaty and Nur-Sultan will restart on 13th and 14th May, respectively.
This resumption of domestic services will start just 10 days after the airline resumed service between Almaty and Nur-Sultan, on 1 May. Connecting the country’s old capital and largest city (Almaty) with its newer, master-planned capital (Nur-Sultan, formerly known as Astana) are three daily flights in each direction. In total, Air Astana normally flies to 10 destinations across Kazakhstan.
All flights will be operated by Airbus A320 family aircraft and Embraer E190-E2 aircraft. Flights to more cities across the country will resume as soon as local airports re-open.
Limited international services
The Kazakh flag carrier has just two international services scheduled for the upcoming week as well. On 11 May, there will be a flight from Almaty to Frankfurt via Nur-Sultan. Flying as KC921, the trip is scheduled to use a Boeing 767 and is reserved for non-Kazakh residents to leave the country.
The airline will also fly a Uralsk (Oral) to Frankfurt service for non-Kazakh residents on 13 May. Conversely, the return journey from Frankfurt to Uralsk is reserved exclusively for Kazakh nationals and residents to return to the country. Uralsk is a city in Kazakhstan’s westernmost region, close to its western border with Russia.
Speaking with Forbes last month, the airline’s CEO, Peter Foster, acknowledged that his airline will look very different as it emerges from this pandemic, saying:
“Our Exit Plan will initially consist of a leaner and stripped-down operating and fleet plan designed to cover essential domestic and international business routes and generate cash. We may well defer some planned aircraft orders in the short-term but we must understand that as the strongest airline in the country and the region, more than ever we need to be fully prepared to take advantage of that when the market returns, as it will.”
At the time of writing, Kazakhstan has just under 5,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and just 31 deaths attributed to the virus. Seeing spikes in new cases in recent days, it doesn’t appear that the country has managed to completely ‘flatten the curve’. In terms of cases per capita, it is in line with countries like Greece, Slovakia, and Australia.
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