Air Astana interested in A320neo lease

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Kazakh carrier Air Astana is assessing Airbus' A320neo but unavailability of manufacturing slots until 2019 means it would have to take the type on lease.

President Peter Foster says that a number of leasing companies with which the carrier is "working already" have deliveries from 2016.

"Therefore we will be engaging with them on that relatively soon," he says.

"We have a route structure that requires us to operate some very long, thin routes, so the extra range that the [A320neo] is likely to offer could well be of significant interest to us, therefore we have engaged with Airbus on this."

Foster adds that the re-engined A321neo, in particular, would be "a very good aircraft" for Air Astana because it offers extra capacity for "bigger" routes to Moscow and Istanbul.

"If we can get an extra 15-20% range out of it...this really makes it a very attractive option for us," he says.