Air Astana eyes greater EX-YU presence


The national carrier of Kazakhstan, Air Astana, is considering increasing its footprint in former Yugoslav markets following the successful launch of its seasonal flights to Podgorica. Originally planned to run twice per week from both Nur-Sultan and Almaty, the airline has added an additional weekly rotation from each city. “At this stage we are planning flights until the end of the summer season, but our planning window is very short these days. If we look at the example of Antalya where last year for the first time we operated year-round flights, which we have never done before, we can’t rule it out for Podgorica. We need to see how the season goes and evaluate later in the season. Certainly, it’s not off the table at this stage”, Richard Ledger, Air Astana’s Vice President for Marketing and Sales, said. Montenegro has introduced a visa exemption for Kazakhstani citizens, enabling visa free entry.

The Kazakh Ambassador to Serbia, Gabit Syzdybekov, has said there is interest from the airline to introduce flights to Belgrade. “In order to strengthen economic cooperation, first of all, we need to open nonstop flights between Nur-Sultan and Belgrade”, Mr Syzdybekov said. In 2016, Air Serbia’s Chairman of the Supervisory Board at the time, SiniĊĦa Mali, noted the carrier was considering launching flights between Belgrade and Almaty. However, the route never materialised. The two countries have already signed a Memorandum of Cooperation in the aviation sector. Kazakhstan has designated Air Astana as its operating carrier for flights to Serbia, while Serbia itself selected its own flag carrier. Serbian citizens do not require a visa to enter Kazakhstan. Furthermore, Serbia is one of only six European countries that does not require entry visas for Kazakhstani passport holders.

The nation’s Ambassador to Croatia, Tolezhan Tursunuly, has said there is growing demand for travel between Kazakhstan and Croatia, which has been temporarily affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Mr Tursunuly noted that the opening of the Croatian embassy in Nur-Sultan in 2019 has enabled quick visa processing for Kazakhstani citizens in order to visit Croatia, which would be further improved with the introduction of nonstop flights. On the other hand, Kazakhstan has enabled visa-free entry for Croatian citizens.

Based on OAG data, during the pre-pandemic 2019, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia were the three largest former Yugoslav markets from Kazakhstan. Over 6.000 passengers flew indirectly between either Nursultan or Almaty to Belgrade, followed by over 3.000 to Croatia and over 2.500 to Ljubljana.


Comments

  1. Anonymous09:02

    Very interesting. Never would have thought flights from Kazakhstan to anywhere in ex-Yu could work but they seem to be doing well in TGD of all places.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:19

      Austrian used to fly there until recently.

      Delete
  2. Anonymous09:02

    Missed opportunity for Air Serbia.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:05

      I don't think Air Serbia has the plane for it. It would be a very long rotation and aircraft can be better used on some other route with better yields.

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    2. Anonymous09:07

      "Missed opportunity" to take 13-14 hours of scarce plane rotation time to serve a rather uncertain route?

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:09

      Air Astana took the gamble with Podgorica and seems to be working well for them if they are flying daily to TGD now.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous09:14

      How long would BEG-ALA be?

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    5. Anonymous09:21

      7 hours

      Delete
    6. Anonymous09:25

      I don't think it's uncertain. there is a potential with transfer passengers, as Kazakhstan is underserved by European carriers. three weekly triangle flights could work

      Delete
    7. Anonymous09:26

      not to mention O&D, as citizens of both countries don't need visas to enter

      Delete
    8. Anonymous09:44

      There are much more important markets JU should try first.

      Delete
    9. Anonymous10:13

      Well, they`d have to use the A330 for such a long flight, wouldn`t they?

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    10. Anonymous10:48

      Belgrade-Nur-Sultan is 4 hours 30 minutes. A319 can make it without an issue.

      Delete
    11. Anonymous12:56

      They could link the flight with China :D Belgrade-Nur Sultan-Beijing :D

      Delete
    12. Anonymous13:02

      Best solution is for Air Astana to start flights and then JU should codeshare.

      Delete
  3. Anonymous09:03

    Very happy to hear they are doing well in TGD. It's a good reason for them to look further in the region.

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  4. Anonymous09:03

    What equipment are they using to Podgorica?

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:04

      A321LR

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:06

      That is one long flight on a narrow body.

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    3. Anonymous09:07

      Their A321LRs look fantastic. It's a comfortable ride.

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    4. Anonymous09:08

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwZxwJCI2ws

      Delete
    5. Anonymous09:10

      Looks very nice, especially business.

      Delete
  5. Anonymous09:03

    Nice!

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  6. Anonymous09:04

    How many indirect passengers were between Kazahstan and Montenegro?

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:07

      I'm really surprised by those large numbers between Kazakhstan and Serbia. Had no idea.

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    2. Anonymous09:09

      it could be workers too. Many people working in construction over there. Quite a few companies have projects.

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    3. Anonymous09:16

      Energoprojekt has built the metro in Almaty, as well as shopping centres. They are now building big residential complexes there too.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous09:25

      @9.07 wonder which airline/routing they used to reach BEG.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous09:30

      Turkish/Aerflot probably.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous10:12

      Not too many available in pandemic times: SVO, IST, WAW, FRA.

      Delete
  7. Anonymous09:04

    I'm surprised they chose Montenegro over Croatian coast for their first flight in ex-Yu considering there is more demand for Croatia based on those numbers.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:06

      The visa exemption is likely a reason why.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:10

      It could also be that TGD airport worked hard to get them.

      Delete
  8. Anonymous09:11

    So Podgorica could get year round flights to Kazakhstan wow who would have thought.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous09:14

    Is Air Astana a state run airline. They seem to be very well managed. New planes, good service...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:21

      Not really.

      They're extremely expensive, used mostly by the corrupt members of the Kazakh elite.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:34

      is a joint venture between Kazakhstan's sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna (51%), and BAE Systems (49%)

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:44

      Wow why is BAE an owner? Wired...

      Delete
    4. Anonymous10:35

      Sounds shady

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    5. Anonymous13:30

      They are doing really good actually.

      Delete
  10. Anonymous09:18

    At first it looks a bit out there, then when you look at some of the facts you think it might actually work.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:26

      I think so too. I mean routes like Rostov-BEG or Krasnodar-BEG also looked off but have worked.

      Delete
  11. Anonymous09:18

    This would be an interesting experiment.

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  12. Anonymous09:19

    Central Asia is quite an underserved market.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Anonymous09:20

    Don't think this would work but it's good they are considering new markets.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:31

      Stranger things have happened.

      Delete
  14. Anonymous10:34

    A market worth exploring.

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  15. Anonymous10:34

    Well done to Air Astana for starting Podgorica flights. I never would have thought it would turn so successful.

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  16. Anonymous10:35

    Their fleet is really young. Good collection of aircraft.

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  17. Anonymous10:37

    In 2016 SCAT Airlines wanted to fly Nur-Sultan - Zagreb. They even held talks with some Croatian association but nothing ever came of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:41

      My goodness. Whoever thought that name was good for an airline...

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    2. Anonymous10:42

      Hahaha

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    3. Anonymous10:47

      There was a good trip report about that airline on here and Kazakhstan in general. If I find the link I will share.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous10:50

      Here it is
      https://www.exyuaviation.com/2019/07/trip-report-scat-airlines-nur-sultan.html

      Delete
    5. Anonymous10:58

      The dome airport building looks cool.

      Delete
  18. Anonymous10:40

    Air Astana flies to China and other Asian cities, they could offer connections via their hub.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Anonymous10:50

    A few years ago Adria also wanted to fly Ljubljana-Astana believe it or not. They announced in 2016 that they were considering it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous13:02

      No wonder they went bankrupt. They were thinking about Kazakhstan while not serving some key cities in Europe.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous17:01

      JP was the most out of the box airline out of all ex-yugo airlines. Remember they had bases in Poland, Pristina, Tirana. They bought Etihad Regional, they even had charters to Kuwait and Tehran... So this is not surprising.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous17:08

      Don't forget amazing and really reliable saab 2000 they got. They were thinking too much "out of the box"

      Delete
  20. Anonymous10:51

    Crazy

    ReplyDelete
  21. Anonymous10:57

    I would like it to happen, but honestly saying I really doubt it will happen. It is simply too far away from all ex-Yu markets.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:59

      But there are already flights from Kazakhstan to Montenegro and they are with respectable frequencies and from 2 different cities! I think that's quite amazing. So don't say never.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous12:55

      hey can give it a try, i have a good feeling about these routes working idk why

      Delete
    3. Anonymous14:51

      Too far away? Dude, they are flying NQZ-FRA with a321lr..

      Delete
  22. Anonymous11:10

    So i guess the next routes could be to BEG, LJU and one of airports in Croatia (probably SPU or DBV, or maybe even ZAG if they attract them before LJU does)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous14:13

      Would be nice. They could link two cities in the region perhaps.

      Delete
  23. Nobody mentions Dubrovnik Airline which operated Dubrovnik - Almaty charters, for 2 years, more than 10 years ago

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous12:54

      Interesting had no idea? For Kazakhstani tourists?

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    2. Anonymous16:46

      What equipment they used on this leg?

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    3. Yes, it was for Kazakh tourists. The equipment was MD80, with one technical stop, I think it was Baku, but not 100%sure

      Delete
  24. Anonymous13:29

    Very exotic

    ReplyDelete
  25. Anonymous13:30

    Great to hear that the Podgorica flights are performing well. Gives hope to the rest of the region.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Anonymous14:11

    Anyone ever been to Kazakhstan?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous14:12

      Borat. ;-)

      Delete
    2. Yes, I 've been to Astana, today NurSultan. Completely new city, grown from 200.000 to 800.000 population after the decree of Mr. NurSultan, in 3 years, after proclaimed capital. Combination of Dubai, Las Vegas, Christchurch and Ulan Baator. People have tons of money, SUV's are normal vehicles, huge wide boulevards, one of the most fascinating and amazing architectonic structures, and very interesting people, at the same time very opened and very closed. Those are my impressions. Somebody else of course maybe sees it completely other way round.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous23:57

      Oh nice Pozdrav. Must have been interesting. What are thw prices like there? Expensive?

      Delete
    4. Prices are moderate and acceptable. Not Norway. Not Vietnam. In between. And you are welcome ☺

      Delete
  27. Anonymous14:12

    With 8,000+ O&D passengers this would definitely be worth a try.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous17:53

      Yes, as per article, 6.000 pax would make some 20 return flights per year to both cities combined (Almaty and Nursultan)

      Delete
    2. Anonymous23:59

      Oops sorry anon I misread 6,000 for 8,000. But still this is before the market is stimulated and does not include any transfers.

      Delete
  28. Anonymous14:14

    If they can make TGD work, they definitely can BEG, ZAG or LJU.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous16:21

      BEG on the first place.

      1. The biggest airport / city
      2. No visa restrictions
      3. First step made - signed Memorandum

      Delete
    2. Anonymous17:50

      4. Nice, sunny beaches in the nearby of BEG.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous00:07

      Well over 6,000 people obviously did not care about the beach in 2019.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous09:00

      I was talking about comparison between BEG, ZAG and LJU.

      Yes, they all surely do have sunny beaches.

      Delete
  29. Anonymous16:25

    I dont get it, if Air Astana is focused on tourists, why they dont fly to TIV instead TGD, like this they would cover the Dubrovnik region aswel?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous23:59

      It is quite odd.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous00:05

      It's because the managenent of Montenegro airports heavily favours Podgorica and even gives airlines better terms.

      Delete
  30. Anonymous16:26

    JU should strengthen its position on markets they already invested in and then deal with these tricky rotations/utilisation. Currently those are too far away and JU has a fleet shortage. As passngers, we are still stuck with ATR72-200 on regional routes, this needs to be addressed urgently. It is a nightmare and uncompetitive to fly on ATR72-200 to Vienna for example.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous17:18

      What do you want for regional routes? A380?

      Delete
    2. Anonymous17:42

      An 17:18 unpopular oppinion, but they should take the Superjets, ATRs are about 25 years old, and with the company growing, it would be a nice upgrade (and cost efficient as well)

      Delete
    3. Anonymous22:40

      I was thinking more in line of ATR 72-600 instead of A380 or any regional jet. I don't mind turboprop, I even like ATRs but 200s are really showing their age. The Vienna route I mentioned... well, they are competing with Austrian.

      Delete
  31. Anonymous17:42

    if they let numbers decide its would be without doubt Belgrade where they fly next.
    No visa and codeshare with Air Serbia are also promising.

    Happy that they are successful in Montenegro but i doubt that year round will work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous17:49

      It will not be year round. They carry tourists that want to spend their holidays on a sunny beach in Europe, hassle-free, so they chose Montenegro over Croatia, where they would need visa. Spain or Portugal would mean an even longer air travel.

      For this reason they are not and will not be interested in flying to BEG or ZAG. Numbers speak for Montenegro.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous17:51

      Numbers show much more demand for all other ex-yu cities than Podgorica.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous18:04

      So pls count how many pax they are currently flying on their 150/180 seaters three weekly to TDG.

      3 (three weekly) x 2 (including return flight) x 165 (average of 150 and 180) x 2 (two destinations) x 10 (ten weeks) = 19.800 seats

      And this is calculated just for 10 weeks of flying.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous19:19

      Strong inbound demand : Belgrade, Zagreb and Sarajevo.
      Strong outbond demand : Belgrade and Ljubljana.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous23:57

      How do you know?

      Delete
    6. Anonymous01:16

      Because i read Ex Yu Aviation every day.
      You should too.

      Delete

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