Air Astana to retire Fokker 50 fleet by January 2013

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Kazakhstan's Air Astana will completely phase out its Fokker 50 turboprops by January 2013 as it adds more Embraer 190 regional jets to its fleet.

The last two Fokker 50s are scheduled to be returned to lessors in January 2013, says the Almaty-based airline. The carrier's original fleet of six aircraft will be replaced by the E-190s by mid-2013.

The carrier will terminate services from Astana to Uralsk and Semey, and from Atyrau to Uralsk on 1 December, as a result of the aircraft's withdrawal from service.

The airports at Uralsk and Semey do not meet the international safety and equipment standards required to support E-190 aircraft operations. The resumption of services to Uralsk and Semey will only be possible after a major upgrade of its airports to jet standard, adds the carrier.