Rugby crazy airline chiefs

I don’t know whether there it’s been by design or coincidence that in my time on Airline Business most of the airline chief executives and other industry bigwigs I have been dispatched to interview seem to be similarly enthusiastic about rugby to me. 

Aside from general discussion about the world cup, I’ve recently learned interesting things from Peter Hill of Oman Air about the rise of rugby in the Middle East and about the sport’s popularity in Sri Lanka.

Speaking to Air Astana’s Peter Foster in Almaty, we discussed the sport’s ban in the Soviet Union under Stalin and about its reintroduction under Nikita Khrushchev.


I also learned that in addition to sponsoring the Kazakhstan national team, which secured second place in the 2010 Asian Five Nations, Air Astana are in the process of training former Kazakhstan captain Timur Mashurov (pictured) to become a pilot. The back-row forward and longtime Nomads captain Mashurov is currently on the airline’s Ab-initio pilot training course.

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