Kazakhstan's Air Astana Restores Full Network Following Unrest

The carrier was boosted by Almaty Airport ending emergency hours of operation.

Credit: Air Astana

Air Astana said its entire network has been fully restored after domestic and international operations were disrupted by civil unrest across Kazakhstan.

The country’s largest airport, Almaty (ALA), reopened Jan. 13, but flights were initially limited to an 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. window. ALA “begins normal operations as the state of emergency and the curfew ended in Almaty at 12 a.m. on Jan. 19,” an airport statement said.

Air Astana’s international schedule includes flights to Antalya (AYT), Turkey; Bishkek (FRU), Kyrgyzstan; Colombo (CMB), Sri Lanka; Dubai (DXB); Dushanbe (DYU), Tajikistan; London Heathrow(LHR); Male (MLE), Maldives; and Phuket (HKT), Thailand.

“The re-opening of Almaty Airport was clearly important in ensuring restoration of the full network,” an Air Astana spokesperson said.

Air Astana had faced operational interruptions since Jan. 5 after mass protests began in Kazakhstan in opposition to a two-fold increase in the price of liquefied petroleum gas. The unrest started in the oil-producing region in the west of the country before spreading to other cities.

Air Astana was able to resume flights from Nur-Sultan Nazarbayev (NQZ), host of Routes Silk Road 2019, on Jan. 7 after a brief grounding of its operations.

Air Astana Group is Kazakhstan’s largest airline company, operating 36 aircraft. That total includes 10 Airbus A320s operated by LCC subsidiary FlyArystan, which was launched in May 2019.

Other significant airlines in Kazakhstan include regional carriers Qazaq Air and SCAT Airlines.