Kazakh carrier Air Astana sees good potential for the Airbus A321neo in its future fleet plans, likely as a replacement for its Boeing 757s.
The airline’s president Peter Foster told reporters recently that if the A321neo has the range that Airbus is promising, it would give the airline access to a large number of cities from its hubs in Astana and Almaty.
“For us the A321neo can possibly be a revolutionary bit of kit, because we could do all of western and central China and all of Europe with a narrowbody aircraft,” he says.
He adds that with a 6h endurance, the airline could even fly the A321neo as far east as Hong Kong, and westwards to London and Frankfurt from its hubs at Almaty and Astana. The airline currently uses Boeing 767s and 757s on those services.
Air Astana already operates five A321s, which are powered by International Aero Engines V2500 engines, as well as eight other A320 family aircraft.
That is likely to make the A321neo a leading contender to replace the airline’s five 757s. Flightglobal’s Ascend Online database shows that the 757s have an average age of 16 years and are all on operating leases.
Foster says that the carrier will soon consider its 757 replacement options and will also examine the rival Boeing 737 Max. He adds that the range of the aircraft will be the key driver of its decision, followed by the cost.