Kazakhstan-based Air Astana is continuing to reopen its Central Asian network, with flights from its Almaty (ALA) hub to Tashkent (TAS), Uzbekistan, resuming on Sept. 11, and to Bishkek (FRU), Kyrgyzstan, slated to start on Sept. 20
The TAS service will initially operate once weekly while the FRU service will operate 2X-weekly. Both routes will be flown with Airbus A320 family aircraft.
"A best case scenario [for full network recovery] requires a widely-available cure or vaccine" for COVID-19, Air Astana group president and CEO Peter Foster said in a June interview with Aviation Week Network.
"In the absence of either of those, one assumes that a restart will be based on essential travel only. Tourism, especially long-haul tourism, we assume will be the last to recover so we have written out of our plans any sixth freedom tourist business through 2020 and for most of 2021. In 2019, those flights made up 30% of our revenue."
Air Astana was forced to stop most of its operations on March 30 because of coronavirus pandemic.
In May, Air Astana resumed some domestic services. Since then, several international routes have also been been added back.
Photo credit: Joe Pries