Air Astana to open direct Hong Kong route

October 04. Universal Newswires

Air Astana to open direct Hong Kong routeAir Astana is preparing to open a direct Hong Kong route with two flights a week, a Hong Kong financial news web site reported on Tuesday.

Peter Foster, president of the Kazakh flag carrier, told delegates at a financial forum in the Chinese city-state that the flights will operate out of Kazakhstan’s business capital and largest city Almaty.

Plans are running a little behind schedule, he said.

“We had intended to start [flight services] in Hong Kong in November 2011, but we had to clear up some air service taxation issues,” he was quoted by The Asset news agency as saying.

“Once that is achieved, we will start air service in Hong Kong initially with two flights a week from Almaty,” he added.

Air Astana already operates services to Hong Kong’s regional neighbors, including Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur, and Thailand’s Bangkok city, as well as to Beijing and Urumqi in China.

The air carrier may also to open up a route with Ho Chi Min City, capital of Vietnam.

The routes are part of the airline’s primary strategy of becoming Central Asia’s leading regional carrier by “colonizing the market near abroad,” in the same way Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines did so successfully, he said.

Foster was speaking at the Kazakh Equity Capital Raising & Investment Forum, held on Friday.

Air Astana, owned 51 percent by Kazakh welfare fund Samruk-Kazyna with the remainder held by Britain’s aerospace company BAE Systems, was established in 2001.