Air Astana Resumes Flights Following Political Unrest

Air Astana intends to resume flights to and from Nur Sultan Airport later today. The Kazakh flag carrier had suspended operations following political unrest in the country due to rising fuel prices. The airline’s operations will remain suspended at Almaty Airport, where protesters took control on Wednesday.

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Air Astana will be resuming flights today following unrest in Kazakhstan. Photo: Air Astana

It’s not uncommon for airlines to ground flights when potentially dangerous situations begin to unfold around the globe. This is especially true when the security of an airport is at risk. Last year, this was the case at Kabul Airport in Afghanistan following the rise of the Taliban. Now, it has also sadly become the case in Kazakhstan, with numerous airlines suspending flights over safety fears.

Air Astana to resume operations

Whenever a local situation impacts air traffic, the home carriers always suffer the most. This was the case during the Hong Kong riots. Only their Hong Kong route was affected for most airlines, but for Cathay Pacific, every route is a Hong Kong route.

Air Astana suspended its operations out of Kazakhstan in response to the country’s unrest once it became clear that aviation safety was potentially at risk. The airline is now looking to restore connectivity.

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The airline is restoring a handful of domestic and international flights today. Photo: Getty Images

Today, services will resume from Nur Sultan. This will see flights operating to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and Moscow in Russia on an international level. Meanwhile, domestic flights will operate to Atyrau, Shymkent, and Turkestan. Tomorrow, services will resume to Frankfurt in Germany and Kutaisi in Georgia. Services to Istanbul in Turkey will resume on Sunday. 

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No Almaty resumption yet

While the airline is restoring flights out of Nur Sultan, it remains unable to do so from its Almaty base for the time being. The airport was closed on Wednesday after protesters overran it. Air Astana clarified that its staff and passengers in the city were safe despite the situation.

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The airline is still unable to fly to and from Almaty Airport. Photo: Getty Images

The airport will remain closed until it is possible to re-secure the facility and ensure that no unauthorized individuals remain airside. It’s unclear how long this will take and whether it will be achieved before the unrest subsides. Earlier today, it was reported that Russian forces managed to control Almaty Airport.

According to reports from Wednesday, protestors had taken control of some of the aircraft on the ground, including a handful of foreign jets. When Kabul Airport was overrun last summer, photos showed those who had made it onto the airfield sitting around and on aircraft.

Rising fuel prices have prompted civil unrest in Kazakhstan. Protesters have taken to the streets in anger, with pictures from the scenes showing riot police out in force.

What do you make of Air Astana’s decision to resume operations today? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!