In December Air Astana became only the second airline in the world to fly Embraer’s E190-E2. Gordon Smith braved the chill in the Kazakh capital to join the grand unveiling and learn more about the carrier’s plans for its newest jet.
The thermometer outside may have read -22°C (-7.6°F), but the atmosphere inside Air Astana’s sprawling complex on the fringes of the capital’s Nursultan Nazarbayev Airport was red hot. The great and the good of Kazakh society were in attendance, gathered to join the flag carrier in marking the arrival of its latest aircraft. While every handover is significant, this ceremony yielded particular weight. In accepting the jet from Embraer, Air Astana had doubled the number of E190-E2 operators, joining Nordic regional carrier Widerøe in the exclusive club.