Etihad Airways has announced it will start flights from Abu Dhabi to Kazakhstan’s largest city, Almaty, in December.
The airline will ply the route four times a week from December 2, using an Airbus A319 configured for 104 passengers, with 20 seats in business class and 84 in economy.
Flight EY296 will depart from Abu Dhabi on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 1020, arriving in Almaty at 1635 the same day, with return flight EY297 leaving Kazakhstan at 1735, arriving in Abu Dhabi at 2030.
The new route will provide good outbound connection possibilities for passengers travelling from London, as Etihad has a daily flight leaving London at 2120, arriving into Abu Dhabi at 0725 the next morning. Inbound is not quite so convenient though, as the first Abu Dhabi-London flight after 2030 is British Airways’ 0210 departure, followed by a 0245 flight with Etihad.
The only direct flights from London to Almaty are Bmi’s three-times weekly service (Monday, Thursday and Saturday) and Air Astana’s twice-weekly flight (Tuesday and Saturday). Other options would be to fly via Amsterdam with KLM, Frankfurt with Lufthansa, or Moscow with Aeroflot.
Almaty is the traditional and cultural capital of Kazakhstan (the official capital is Astana), with a population of 1.2 million people. The city’s economy has grown rapidly since the country gained independence in 1990, with the oil and gas sectors benefitting from large amounts of foreign investment.
Report by Mark Caswell