Earlier this year, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev announced plans with Bombardier Presidentand Chief Executive Officer Pierre Beaudoin to discuss wider cooperation in air and rail transport.
“We can build on the experience of starting a new airline from Air Astana,”Nazarbayev said then. Air Astana was launched in 2002 as a 51-49 percent joint venture between Kazakhstan and Britain’s BAE systems.
The Air Kazakhstan president Nurzhan Shakirov confirmed the purchase of the new planes and announced their delivery date at an aircraft presentation held at Astana International Airport.
“We bought 10Q400 NextGen aircraft from Bombardier. Each aircraft costs $23 million. In March and April 2015, five or six planes will be delivered to Kazakhstan. They will immediately go into use for domestic service,” Shakirov said.
“The Q400 NextGen turboprop is ideally suited for Central Asia’s geographic diversity,” said Ray Jones, senior vice president of sales, marketing and asset management at Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “The Q400 NextGen aircraft is the most advanced turboprop on the market and has the speed and range required to service Kazakhstan’s market with the highest standards of safety, reliability and passenger comfort. Also importantly, the Q400 NextGen aircraft has proven its capability in very hot as well as extremely cold weather conditions; it has been certified for operations in temperatures as low as -54 C.”
“With operating costs that are significantly lower than the other 70-seat aircraft currently in production, the Q400 NextGen aircraft offers airlines a distinct advantage,” added Jones.
Central Asia is seeing increased demand for modern aircraft as older, less efficient designs pose chronic challenges with high fuel costs and environmental concerns.
Kazakh airlines collectively flew five million passengers, or 9 percent more in 2013than they carried in 2012. The country plans to upgrade 16 airports to accommodate regional air service expansions in the near future.
Q400 NextGen aircraft, economical and robust
With the introduction of the Q400 NextGen aircraft, Canada-based Bombardier essentially reinvented the modern turboprop. Optimised for short-haul flights and seating up to 86 passengers, the aircraft is a large, fast, quiet and fuel-efficient plane that provides the perfect balance of passenger comfort, performance and operational flexibility with the lowest seat-mile cost on the market for short-haul regional aircraft. With the flexibility to fly at both turboprop and jet speeds, the Q400 NextGen aircraft can be profitably deployed on short-range turboprop flights and in medium-haul jet markets. Now available in optional dual class, extra capacity and passenger-cargo combo configurations, the Q400 NextGen aircraft’s versatility positions it to again reshape the turboprop market through profitable growth.
The Q400 NextGen aircraft features an enhanced cabin environment with LED lighting, new ceiling panels, dished window sidewalls and larger overhead luggage bins. These features, combined with the aircraft’s Active Noise and Vibration Suppression (ANVS) system, provide an excellent cabin experience for passengers.
Bombardier has recorded firm orders for a total of 498 Q400 and Q400 NextGen aircraft. Worldwide, Q400 and Q400 NextGen aircraft have transported more than 295 million passengers and have logged over 4.7 million flight hours and more than five million take-offs and landings. The Q400 and Q400 NextGen aircraft programme includes over 50 customers and operators in over 30 countries on five continents. Long recognized as a high-value asset by operators, the Q400 aircraft is now also attracting growing interest from potential lessees.
Bombardier is the world’s only manufacturer of both planes and trains.