Air Astana, Kazakhstan’s flag carrier, was launched in May 2002, with Dubai being amongst its earliest international destinations.

Initial services from Almaty to Dubai started in August 2002 with twice weekly flights, while additional service from Nur-Sultan began in 2007.

The number of passengers travelling on flights between Kazakhstan and Dubai has dramatically increased over the past two decades. In 2002, there were less than 7,000 passengers carried on the route. In the first half of 2022 alone, that figure has crossed 101,000 already.

A similar jump is observed in cargo volumes, with 54,000kg uplifted in 2002, compared to over 730,000kg in the first half of 2022.

Astana flights to Dubai are currently operated by its Airbus A321LR aircraft which are configured with 16 business class seats and 150 economy class seats.

“The UAE offers a range of leisure attractions and business opportunities, and Dubai has proven to be a very popular destination for Kazakhstan travellers over the past 20 years,” said Adel Dauletbek, vice-president of Marketing and Sales Air Astana. “Passenger traffic from Almaty and Nur-Sultan continues to grow strongly, and we plan to restore pre-pandemic frequencies from both cities later this year for the winter season.”

In the coming winter season flight schedules to and from Dubai will be improved, with departures from Almaty and Nur-Sultan in the morning and arrival at lunchtime, with the return departure from Dubai just after lunch and arrival back in Kazakhstan in the evening. Frequencies are scheduled to peak at 17 per week by the end of 2022, with ten services per week from Almaty and seven from Nur-Sultan.

Kazakhstan has re-established a visa-free regime for citizens of 57 countries, including Emiratis, for stays of up to 30 days. Passengers arriving in Kazakhstan from foreign countries are not required to provide a certificate of vaccination or a PCR certificate with a negative Coivd-19 test result.

Air Astana commenced its operations in 2002 as a joint venture between Kazakhstan’s national wealth fund, Samruk Kazyna, and BAE Systems, with shares of 51 per cent and 49 per cent respectively. The airline is a full-service international and domestic carrier, with its low-cost division, FlyArystan, rapidly growing in regional and domestic markets since its launch in 2019.

Air Astana Group operates a fleet of 38 aircraft including Airbus A320/A321neo/A321LR family, Boeing 767-300ER and Embraer E190-E2.

Air Astana became the first carrier from Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Eastern Europe to be awarded a prestigious four-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 consecutive years. Air Astana also received both the APEX Regional Passenger Choice Award and TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards for three years in a row between 2018 and 2020. In 2021, Air Astana received the highest level five-Star Covid-19 Airline Safety Rating by Skytrax and the highest Diamond status for minimising and preventing the spread of the Covid-19 by APEX.