Air Astana has announced it will be using its new Airbus A321LRs to fly direct from Astana (now Nur-Sultan) to London. The new aircraft will begin operation on the Astana to London route towards the end of March 2020, and will offer passengers the opportunity to fly Air Astana’s new, highly-rated business class seats.
Business Traveller reported today on Air Astana’s plans to operate a new aircraft between the Kazakh and UK capitals beginning in March 2020. The Kazakh flag carrier will offer flights from Nur-Sultan Airport to London Heathrow next year using the newest addition to its fleet, the Airbus A321LR.
Air Astana recently took delivery of the first of its new Airbus A321LRs, which it is leasing from Aer Cap.
Air Astana’s new Airbus A321LRs
The first of Air Astana’s shiny new Airbus A321LRs was unveiled in a special ceremony at the airline’s technical center on 9 October. According to Business Traveller, the airline will receive a further six Airbus A321LRs over the next three months.
The new aircraft will be introduced to Air Astana’s fleet a replacement for the airline’s four Boeing 757s, which it received between 2003 and 2006.
The Airbus A321LR offers exceptional range and seat capacity for a single-aisle airliner, meaning that Air Astana will now be able to offer a new selection of longer-haul routes. With 150 economy and 16 business class seats, Air Astana’s new Airbus A321LRs have the exact same seating capacity as its outgoing Boeing 757s.
This seating layout means that the Nur-Sultan to London route will still be able to cater to both business and leisure travelers. Discussing its order for the Airbus A321LR with Routes Online, Air Astana said:
“In terms of product, in terms of range, in terms of operating cost efficiency, these aircraft are going to take Air Astana to a new level.”
New business class seats
There are some upgrades to the business class offering aboard Air Astana’s new aircraft.
Business class passengers will be able to enjoy the luxury of the newest Thomson Vantage, lie-flat seats. There will now be four ‘throne’ seats, offering an extra level of privacy and comfort.
There is also a new entertainment system, mood lighting and a touchscreen seat control mechanism to add an extra level of luxury.
Additional capacity on existing routes
Previous reports on Air Astana’s new Airbus A321LRs suggest that, rather than opening new routes, the airline will use its new aircraft to strengthen capacity on existing routes. The announcement that the Nur-Sultan to London route will be served by the Airbus A321LR suggests that Air Astana is indeed strengthening rather than expanding.
London is right at the edge of Air Astana’s current network, so it makes sense to assign the route to the Airbus A321LR.
The airline will be getting rid of four Boeing 757s whilst adding seven Airbus A321LRs. This means that there will be additional fleet capacity at the end of the transition, but whether or not a new route will be announced remains to be seen.
Simple Flying is currently awaiting a response from Air Astana regarding its plans for its new Airbus A321LRs.