Kazakhstan airline eyes Vietnam market

Sept 25. VOVNews

Kazakhstan airline eyes Vietnam marketAir Astana has decided to open a direct air route to Vietnam because the country is a potential market of nearly 90 million consumers, says Air Astana President Peter Foster.

VNExpress wire quoted Foster as saying with a dynamic economy and a large population, the Southeast Asian nation has great air travel demand, and Air Astana still finds room for a slice of the cake.

According to Foster, both Kazakhstan and Vietnam have developed a fine political relationship. The two countries have entered a new period of economic cooperation, especially following the Kazakhstan President’s visit to Hanoi in October 2011.

During a visit to Kazakhstan from September 9-11 by State President Truong Tan Sang, both sides agreed to launch a direct air route between Almaty city, the former capital of Kazakhstan and the nation’s largest city, and Ho Chi Minh City, the largest economic hub in Vietnam. The first flights are scheduled to take off this December.

The launch of the air route is part of Air Astana’s long-term investment strategy to promote economic, trade, and investment, as well as tourism cooperation between the two countries, said Foster.

Air Astana is rated as the best in Kazakhstan, and the first four-star airline in East Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).  It will vie for market share in Vietnam, and premium quality services are the airline’s competitive advantage, said the CEO. 

It plans to conduct two flights a week, carrying a total of between 80-100 passengers in the first phase. It will target Kazakh and Vietnamese tourists, entrepreneurs, and guest workers.