ASTANA – Air Astana will begin April 1 offering three additional flights per week from Almaty to Tashkent and two additional flights per week from Astana to Tashkent. The airline is also negotiating to offer flights to Japan and the United States through an intermediate point.
Currently, the company has daily flights from Almaty to Tashkent and four flights per week from Astana to the Uzbek capital. The extra flights from Almaty to Tashkent will be on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 9 p.m. The additional flights from Astana to the Uzbek capital will be on Mondays and Thursdays at 7:40 a.m.
The airline currently offers Astana-Tashkent-Astana flight with a discount. The price is 63,400 tenge (US$169) if tickets are bought till Feb. 28 for flights from April 1-30. Airbus A320 and Embraer 190s are used for the two-hour flights.
Air Astana started flights from Almaty to Tashkent in December 2010 and from Astana to the Uzbek capital in May 2012. Since the start of the flights to Uzbekistan, it has carried more than 500,000 people and 700,000 tonnes of cargo.
The airline plans to open direct flights to Japan this year and to the United States through an intermediate point in 2020.
“The head of state set such a task at the government meeting. It is clear that the flights may be unprofitable at the first stage, the issue of subsidising these routes will be considered and solved,” said First Deputy Prime Minister Askar Mamin at a meeting of the board of the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development.
“Now we are preparing a package of documents specifically for subsidising international flights. We have an agreement with Japan, and in the second half of this year, we plan to open the flight. As for the United States, Air Astana and the Civil Aviation Committee have to pass an audit of the U.S. aviation authorities for security compliance. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of time, about two years. But it is possible to attract foreign, American airlines at the first stage,” said First Vice Minister of Industry and Infrastructure Development Roman Sklyar.