Air Astana, Kazakhstan’s flag carrier, has taken delivery of its first A320 aircraft equipped with Airbus’ Sharklet fuel saving wing-tip devices.
Sharklets are newly designed wing-tip devices made from light-weight composites and are 2.4 meters tall that improve the aircraft’s aerodynamics. Sharklets are an option on new-build A320 Family aircraft of which Air Astana is the 13th operator worldwide and first in the region. By operating the aircraft, Air Astana will be offering a more environmental friendly service reducing its fuel burn up to four percent on longer sectors and carbon emissions on flights operated with this aircraft type by 1000 tons per aircraft per year. Moreover, Sharklets offer the flexibility to A320 Family operators of either adding around 200 kilometers more range or allowing an increased payload capability of up to 450 kilograms.
Air Astana’s A320, powered by IAE V2500 engines, features a comfortable two class cabin layout, seating 148 passengers in 16 business class and 132 in economy. Air Astana started commercial service with its first Airbus aircraft, an A320, in 2006, and is currently operating one A319, seven A320s and four A321s.
“We are delighted to receive our first A320 Sharklet equipped aircraft which will optimize our operating costs significantly, while reducing the environmental impact,” said Peter Foster, President, Air Astana.
“With the delivery of the first Sharklet equipped aircraft Air Astana could benefit from lower operation costs and extended range. Further A320 Family arrivals later this year will contribute to the airline’s expansion and growth plans,” says John Leahy Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers.
Air Astana commenced regular flight operations on 15th May 2002 and currently operates a network of almost 60 international and domestic routes from hubs in Almaty, Astana and Atyrau. Air Astana flies an all-western fleet comprising of two Boeing 767s, five Boeing 757s, twelve Airbus A320s family, and seven Embraer E-190s. In 2012, Air Astana became the first carrier from Russia/the CIS /Eastern Europe to be awarded the prestigious 4-Star rating in the Skytrax World Airline Awards 2012 and was also named The Best Airline in Central Asia and India.
Air Astana is a full member of the International Air Transport Association and was the first airline in Kazakhstan to achieve EU EASA Part 145 aircraft maintenance certification.
Air Astana is a joint venture between Kazakhstan’s national wealth fund Samruk Kazyna and BAE Systems, with respective shares of 51% and 49%.