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Air Astana shifts Moscow operations for S7 codeshare

Air Astana is shifting its Moscow services from Sheremetyevo to the Russian capital's Domodedovo airport from the beginning of the winter season.

Links to both Nur-Sultan and Almaty – a total of 25 weekly flights – will be moved from 27 October.

Air Astana is switching airport following the recent codeshare agreement it signed with Oneworld alliance carrier S7 Airlines, which has its Moscow base at Domodedovo.

The Kazakhstani carrier disclosed the transfer as it unveiled a profitable half-year, and credited its newly-established budget operation FlyArystan with stimulating domestic traffic since its launch on 1 May.

Air Astana reversed last year's interim operating loss of nearly $12 million to generate a profit of $6.8 million, under international accounting standards, for the six months to 30 June.

Passenger numbers were up 1%, it says, "despite the late delivery of new aircraft by the manufacturer". The airline received an Airbus A320neo and two Embraer 190-E2s in the first half.

Air Astana's overall traffic reduced slightly and revenues slipped to $373 million. It points out that it was affected by temporary suspension of Indian services and a decline in connecting traffic from Turkey and Ukraine.

But the company states that domestic traffic in the second quarter showed a "particularly strong" rise, up 20%, which it attributes to the launch of FlyArystan.

"This trend is expected to accelerate as a result of the strong traffic contributions from FlyArystan," it adds.

Chief executive Peter Foster says FlyArystan is expanding the airline's customer base. "A sizeable share of the group’s total traffic is now being generated by customers who have never previously flown," he says.

Air Astana claims it has "one of the lowest" cost bases in the airline industry and that unit costs over the first half fell by 7%.

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