Air Astana plans to launch an international air cargo division operating a fleet of three converted Boeing 767-300 aircraft, which had previously been in passenger service with the carrier since 2013. The decision to launch Air Astana Cargo results from a strong increase in the demand for regional freight transport in the recent months and a strategic review of Air Astana’s overall fleet plans in the wake of the global health crisis.
The first Boeing 767 is already undergoing conversion into semi-cargo configuration at Air Astana’s technical centre in Almaty, with the removal of all seating and other passenger amenities. Associated amendments to technical documents and approvals for freight operations from local aviation authorities are also in process.
During the health crisis, Air Astana responded to the substantial demand for the transportation of medical equipment and supplies to destinations across Kazakhstan, Central Asia, and Europe by operating a specially prepared Boeing 767-300 passenger aircraft.
“Air Astana has rapidly met the immediate heightened demand for air freight by operating a Boeing 767 passenger aircraft, but we must strictly enforce European Aviation Safety Agency weight and volume regulations regarding cargo placed on seats,” said Zhanna Shayakhmetova, Director of Freight, Air Astana. “Once we start operations with the converted semi-cargo Boeing 767 aircraft, we’ll be able to considerably increase the volume of transported goods and offer our customers more flexible conditions.”
About Air Astana
Air Astana, the national carrier of Kazakhstan, operates domestic and international flights from hubs in Astana and Almaty. The company was incorporated in late 2001 and commenced operations on 15th May 2002. The Air Astana fleet consists of Boeing 767/757, Airbus A320 Family aircraft including A320neo and A321neo and Embraer E190 / E190-E2 aircraft.
Air Astana became the first carrier from Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States and Eastern Europe to be awarded the prestigious 4-Star rating by Skytrax at its World Airline Awards 2012 and was also named ‘The Best Airline in Central Asia and India’ that year. Both achievements were repeated in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. In addition for 2019, Air Astana was named as a Winner in TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards and also received a 5-Star in the “Major Regional Airlines” category from APEX.
Air Astana is a joint venture between Kazakhstan’s national wealth fund, Samruk Kazyna, and BAE Systems, with respective shares of 51% and 49%.