After a two-year hiatus, Air Astana resumed services from Almaty to Bangkok, Thailand. The flights will initially operate five times a week before increasing to a daily service from November 29th and are operated using the airline’s new Airbus A321 (Long Range) aircraft.
Kazakh flag carrier Air Astana initially launched flights from Almaty to Bangkok in 2003. The route proved popular and was rumored to be returning this year after being suspended due to the covid pandemic in March 2020. Adel Dauletbek, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Air Astana, highlighted Thailand’s recent lifting of travel restrictions as influential to the resumption.
“We are delighted to resume services to Bangkok, which has traditionally proven to be one of the most popular destinations for travellers from Kazakhstan.”
“With the Thai authorities lifting all Covid related restrictions on foreign visitors, we look forward to a rapid resurgence of passengers travelling to Bangkok for business and vacation.”
Photo: Air Astana
Air Astana revealed that almost 900,000 passengers traveled on the Almaty to Bangkok route in its initial 17-year run.
A second Thai destination returns
The flights are currently scheduled for five weekly rotations, with no service on Tuesdays or Thursdays, before rising to daily next month. Passengers will depart Almaty International Airport (ALA) after midnight at 1:10 am, arriving in Bangkok at 8:55 am. The return flight from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport departs at 10:05 am and returns to Almaty at 4:35 pm local time.
The capital cities link follows Air Astana’s service from Almaty to the popular beach resort of Phuket, which launched in November of 2021. The island off southern Thailand is popular with tourists and is currently served with three frequencies a week. Since its debut almost a year ago, over 37,000 passengers have traveled on the route, with an average load of 74%.
The airline recently reintroduced its Stopover Holiday program for transit passengers. The program allows passengers with connections in Almaty and Astana to enjoy an extended layover with a hotel in the city and airport transfers. Connections are now available from Thailand via Almaty to locations including Dubai, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Sharm El Sheikh, and the Maldives.
Betting big on the A321LR
The route resumption comes as Air Astana rapidly expands its route network with the addition of ten Airbus A321LRs this year. The carrier’s Airbus A321LR fleet features 16 seats in business class and 150 in Economy. The aircraft has been vital for the airline group’s expansion by reducing operating costs and has proven popular with passengers.
Airline CEO Peter Foster previously told Simple Flying that the A321LR burns less than half the fuel of the Boeing 757 it has replaced on many routes and highlighted the additional cargo capacity and spacious ‘throne seats’ in the aircraft’s premium cabin. Passengers flying in the economy cabin benefit from a 10-inch in-flight entertainment display and 33 inches of seat pitch which will come in handy on the long flight.
Photo: Air Astana
The airline group, which includes low-cost subsidiary Fly Arystan, is currently undergoing a fleet renewal and will grow its fleet to 59 aircraft by 2025. A tenth Airbus A321-200LR aircraft bearing the registration EI-KGI is due to be delivered by the end of the year.