The Caspian region will be even more connected to Europe once Air Astana starts offering nonstop flights from Kazakhstan to France. Flights will begin on June 3, 2020, and directly connect Charles de Gaulle Airport, which is the second-busiest airport in Europe, to Air Astana’s main domestic hub in Almaty.
Flights between Paris and Almaty will run three times per week, on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. The total flight duration from Almaty to Paris will be 7 hours and 15 minutes, while from Paris to Almaty the aircraft will be in operation for 7 hours and 45 minutes.
Tickets for the new route have already gone on sale, according to the company’s press statement released this week. The cost of an economy class ticket will start at 191,765 tenge, or about $496, while a business class ticket’s price starts at 944,206 tenge, or about $2,445.
Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest metropolis is set in the foothills of the Trans-Ili Alatau Mountains, in the southeastern corner of the country bordering Kyrgyzstan and China. The city served as the country’s capital until 1997 and remains Kazakhstan’s commercial and cultural hub. As of today, the airport in Almaty is ranked the largest air hub of Kazakhstan. In 2015, it served almost 5 million passengers, and in the same year, the International Aviation Committee recognized it as “The Best in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).”
Meanwhile, the announcement for launching the new flight comes months after Air Astana had received its first Airbus A321LR jet – the narrow-body, commercial twin-engine passenger airliner manufactured by the European multinational aeronautical conglomerate in France. The company’s officials said that namely this aircraft would operate the round trip.
Air Astana is the first and so far the only operator of this type of aircraft in the CIS. The A321LR is equipped with a newly designed cabin, which features comfortable seats that have additional legroom compared to most airlines. Airbus officials say the cabin of the jet will “provide passengers with a consistent experience, lights, colors and patterns that uniquely describe an airline’s brand.”
With new longer-range aircraft capabilities and an emerging middle class in Kazakhstan, flights abroad are becoming more of a reality for residents and citizens in what was once a Soviet republic.
Earlier this year, the authorities of Kazakhstan had announced their intent to launch direct flight connecting what is considered Central Asia’s largest and wealthiest country to New York City in the United States. Officials in Nur-Sultan said an agreement on air traffic between the U.S. and Kazakhstan is currently under development and the flight would come online sometime in 2020.