Kazakhstan airline Air Astana is set to move its Paris service from Nur-Sultan to Almaty. Air Astana is the only airline to fly between France and Kazakhstan, and this move will allow passengers to fly to the countries largest city rather than its capital (and thus may be far more popular).
What are the details?
Back in 2015, Air Astana launched a new route from Astana (now known as Nur-Sultan) to Paris. This would be the first route between the two countries and would give the airline a monopoly on travel between these two capital cities.
Whilst not a very popular tourist destination, Kazakhstan has a population of 18 million people. The country is additionally very big and air travel is a must to get around.
However, since then the airline has decided to move the destination from Nur-Sultan to the countries biggest city, Almaty, according to Flight Global. This logically makes sense; if most of the Paris bound passengers were simply flying through Nur-Sultan then it would actually cost the airline money to operate the route (two flights vs one direct flight).
An interesting point of trivia is that Almaty actually used to be the capital of the country until 1998 when it was moved to this new planned city (like Washington DC or Canberra).
The current route is flown twice a week with Boeing 757-200s but the new update will see the route taken over by an Airbus A321LR which will operate three times a week. The 757s are expected to be retired by the end of 2025.
Who is Air Astana?
Air Astana is the flag carrier of Kazakhstan. It flies to 64 destinations, with some of its routes spanning across Europe, Russia and to Asia. It has a very mixed fleet of 37 aircraft and 21 more on order, including three Boeing 787-9s.
The new Airbus A321LR that will be operating this new Paris route is configured with 150 economy seats and 16 business class seats, which is the same as the outgoing Boeing 757s. The business cabin will feature new Thomson Vantage lie-flat seats. There will now be four ‘throne’ seats, offering an extra level of privacy and comfort.
The A321LR will be heading to London in 2020 but from the new capital city not the same departure point as this Paris service. This is a little strange as other reports indicate that they are planning to decommission their hub in Nur-Sultan and become a single hub airline.
Simple Flying reached out to the airline for comment but as of publishing had yet to reply.
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