Air Astana has enhanced moves to be recognised as Central Asia’s premier hub (see news), recently adding Vietnam as its seventh Asian destination. It now flies between Almaty and Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) twice weekly via Bangkok, a journey of nine hours. The return flight is operated non-stop and takes just seven hours.
A Boeing 757 is used on the route, configured in a 16 business class and 150 economy layout.
This follows on a Hong Kong service started up in August of last year. In the region, the flag carrier of Kazakhstan also serves Bangkok, Beijing, Delhi, Kuala Lumpur and Seoul. While there is some business traffic on the route, the market consists largely of outbound tourists from Kazakhstan and CIS, seeking the warmth of the tropics and its various other attractions. The beaches of Vung Tau, two hours from HCMC, are familar, especially to Russian travellers, who have been visiting them for many years. A new MGM Resort (see news), which just opened, is certain to appeal to them.
Peter Foster, Air Astana president, described the carrier's Asia-Pacific inroads as "high priority", adding other destinations in the region would follow.
For more information, visit www.airastana.com
Margie T Logarta