On December 7th, Air Astana announced that it had taken delivery of its seventh Airbus A321LR. The brand new long-range narrowbody had actually touched down at the airline’s base at Almaty International Airport on December 3rd from Airbus facilities in Hamburg. Having retired its Boeing 757s in 2020, this recent addition is the airline’s 26th aircraft.
While it’s the 7th A321LR for Air Astana, it’s the 11th A321neo for the carrier. Photo: Air Astana
From Hamburg to Almaty
According to AIB Family Flights, Air Astana’s 7th A321LR is registered EI-KGG and has MSN 10421. As you can tell by the aircraft’s registration, the plane is registered in Ireland and is a lease from Air Lease Corporation.
EI-KGG departed Airbus’ Hamburg Finkenwerder facility on December 3rd at 15:40 local time. An overnight flight, the aircraft flew over Latvia and Russia and touched down at Almaty airport in Kazakhstan at an early 02:43 local time. The total duration of the flight was just over six hours.
Before delivery, the jet had accumulated a total of five hours and 13 minutes in test flight time across a total of five flights. The jet was first spotted on July 5th, 2021, in its full livery, and again on September 6th, conducting a taxi check and rejected take-off test. Test flights then took place on September 8th, 14th, and 27th, as well as November 5th and 17th.
Air Astana’s A321LRs are configured with two classes, with all seats having individual entertainment systems. Photo: Getty Images
According to Air Astana, the Airbus A321LR is powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1133G engines. A longer-range version of the A321neo, the jet has an increased maximum take-off weight and optimized fuselage design for its missions.
The airline has fitted the jet with a two-class interior layout comprising 16 seats in business class and 150 in economy class. A full-service carrier, Air Astana has equipped all seats with IFE systems.
Air Astana notes that its Airbus A321LRs will operate services across the Air Astana network, including international flights to Dubai, Frankfurt, London, Istanbul, Maldives, and Sri Lanka.
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Filling the gap left by the 757
The Air Astana Group fleet (which includes low-cost subsidiary FlyArystan) consists of 36 aircraft. While 28 of these jets come from the Airbus family, the carrier also has three Boeing 767-300s and five Embraer E190-E2s.
With three more A321LR aircraft expected to be delivered in 2022, Air Astana has been modernizing its fleet in recent times. The carrier had previously operated five Boeing 757-200s with a configuration identical to its A321LRs. However, these jets were phased out over the past two years. The first 757 to exit the fleet left in April of 2019, while the other four all made their exit in March of 2020.
One of Air Astana’s earliest Airbus A320s was moved out of the mainline fleet and into the FlyArystan fleet. Photo: Getty Images
The airline also operates a handful of fairly young Airbus A320neos. With an average age of just 2.2 years (at the time of this article’s publication), the jets are configured with 16 seats in business class and 132 seats in economy.
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