Air Astana Group, the largest airline group in Central Asia and the Caucasus regions by revenue and fleet size, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Neos, the second largest airline from Italy and part of the Alpitour group, to enter a strategic partnership.

The deal will encompass several areas of cooperation, including a codeshare agreement under which Air Astana will apply its ‘KC’ denominator to Neos-operated flights between Milan Malpensa (MXP) and Almaty (ALA) and vice versa.

Moreover, the airlines plan on collaborating on Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner technical and operations performance sharing when Air Astana gets its first 787-9s in 2025, with Neos being a current Dreamliner operator.

Furthermore, Air Astana and Neos say are considering and evaluating the formation of a joint venture on routes between Italy and Kazakhstan, subject to regulatory approvals.

“We are delighted to enter a strategic partnership with Neos and look forward to exploring initiatives together so we can better serve our mutual customers. This agreement will provide Air Astana passengers with more flexibility, convenience and choice of flights between Kazakhstan and Italy.

The first interline agreement was signed by Air Astana in 2005 and since then, the Group has steadily grown ties with other international carriers in Asia and Europe as we endeavour to offer our customers even more choices for travelling around the world,” said Peter Foster, CEO of Air Astana Group.

Air Astana currently operates a fleet of new technology Airbus A321neo long-range aircraft, as well as A320neos on shorter routes, and 767-300ERs on higher capacity international services, including to Seoul and Frankfurt.

From 2025, the Kazakh flag carrier will add three 787-9 Dreamliners and it plans to fly them to destinations including New York, its chief executive Peter Foster said last year.

On the 787-9s, Air Astana will for the first time launch a proper premium economy product, as well as 30 business class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration.