Air Astana is marking Kazakhstan’s Independence Day , with the official presentation of its first two owned A321 aircraft at a celebratory event in Almaty today. The aircraft are the first of six A320 family aircraft ordered during the visit to France by Kazakhstan’s President, Nursultan Nazarbayev in 2008 and represents a major step in the development of the country’s civil aviation industry. This was the first contract for the purchase of brand new commercial aircraft in the history of Kazakhstan.
The total deal for six aircraft is worth more than US$500 million at list prices, with financing independently undertaken by Air Astana without government budget, shareholders’ funds or state guarantees. Financing supported by the Export Credit Agencies of Germany, France and UK has been arranged by Royal Bank of Scotland, and from the airline’s cash reserves generated through operations. The financing transaction has benefitted from the Aviation Protocol of the Cape Town treaty ratified by the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The new fleet of Airbus aircraft will operate domestic flights, and international flights to destinations in China, India, Russia, Turkey and the UAE.
“The arrival of the first owned Airbus A321s at Air Astana is not only a major event for the airline, but also for the government of Kazakhstan. Having launched the airline with minimal capital in 2002, we are pleased to have built up sufficient financial strength to the point where we are now taking delivery of a new fleet of substantial value. Air Astana has entered an important new phase of its development,” said Peter Foster, President of Air Astana.
Air Astana commenced regular flight operations on 15th May 2002 and currently operates a network of more 50 international and domestic services from hubs in Almaty, Astana and Atyrau. Air Astana flies an all western fleet comprising of two Boeing 767s, five Boeing 757s, nine Airbus A320/ A321s and six Embraer 190s.