Kazakh carrier Air Astana has been forced to trim its flight offering amid the global Coronavirus outbreak. The news comes as Lufthansa yesterday announced that it had cut over 7,000 flights from its schedule during March.
Worldwide coronavirus is having a profound impact on the aviation industry. This has been characterized by a sharp fall in demand for air travel. While the outbreak originated in Eastern Asia, it now also has a strong foot in Europe. In fact, every Western European county has confirmed cases. Due to this, many people in both Europe and Asia are canceling plans to travel.
What about Air Astana?
Carriers the world over have been announcing flight suspensions as a result of the spread of coronavirus. Today it was the turn of the Kazakh carrier Air Astana, who announced a fair number of cuts across the network. This affected both short and long haul routes.
Firstly, Air Astana has significantly cut its offering to Seoul, a hotspot of the outbreak according to the World Health Organization’s figures at the time of writing. The carrier will now only operate two weekly rotations, one from Almaty and one from Nur Sultan. Previously seven weekly rotations had been offered split between the two origins.
While Air Astana has canceled its flights to mainland China, it had still been operating aircraft to Hong Kong. However, this has now changed with the Kazakhstan flag carrier operating its last flight to the Chinese special administrative region earlier today.
One of the carrier’s key long haul routes has also taken a hit as a result of the ongoing virus concerns. In fact, the carrier has gone as far as suspending flights between Nur Sultan and Paris until the 31st of May. Additionally, services from Almaty to Kuala Lumpur will be suspended from the 14th of April until the end of May.
Air Astana had been due to launch a new service to Paris from Almaty in June 2020. This three times weekly service will be operated by the carrier’s new Airbus A321LR Aircraft. However, this new service doesn’t seem to be affected just yet.
In a statement sent to Simple Flying, the airline’s sales director, Islam Sekerbekov said,
“Safety has always been the number one priority at Air Astana, with the health and well-being of our passengers and crew onboard being of utmost concern at this time. In order to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, flights to China have been canceled, whilst flights to Azerbaijan and South Korea have been reduced.”
He went on to add: “Cabin crew on international flights are provided with facemasks and additional attention is made to cleaning and disinfection of the aircraft cabin.”
Have you been affected by Air Astana’s flight cancellations? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!