UnknownA new regional airline, Air Kazakhstan is being established in the Central Asian republic and is expected to begin flying early next year.  The state investment fund, and Air Astana will be partners in the formation of a new regional airline, to provide domestic feeder service to Air Astana’s operations.  Air Astana ceased its regional operations last year when it retired a fleet of aging Fokker 50 aircraft, which has left a transportation gap in domestic service from airports too small to handle jets.

Current plans are for the new to be registered by May with the civil aviation authority and to begin taking deliveries of aircraft before the end of the year, with service start-up in early 2015.  The country has also planned  upgrades to 16 regional airports to accommodate regional airline service.

Air Astana currently serves Almaty, Astana, and Atyrau with an all-western fleet of Airbus A320, -300ER and 757-200, and E-190 aircraft.   The is on the EU blacklist, operating only with special conditions, as are all other Kazakhstan operators.  Bombardier will assist the carrier with and mechanic training as an element of the deal, and likely establish a presence in the oil-rich country. kazakhstanThis transaction was first announced February 26th after a meeting at the World Economic Forum in Davos between Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Bombardier’s CEO Pierre Baudoin, and media reports are emerging that a definitive agreement has now been negotiated.  This is good news for the Q400 program, which is well suited to the Kazakhstan environment, with long distances between cities that require a higher speed turboprop for regional operations.

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