Air Astana has established an international air cargo division. The decision to launch Air Astana Cargo results from a strong increase in the demand for regional freight transport in recent months and a strategic review of the airline’s overall fleet plans in the wake of the global COVID19 pandemic.
It will operate a fleet of three converted Boeing 767-300 aircraft, which had previously been in passenger service with the carrier since 2013. The first Boeing 767 is currently undergoing conversion into semi-cargo configuration at Air Astana’s technical centre in Almaty, with the removal of all seating and other passenger amenities.
Associated amendments to technical documents and approvals for freight operations from local aviation authorities are also in process. During the ongoing COVID19 pandemic, the carrier responded to the substantial demand for medical equipment and supplies to destinations across Kazakhstan, Central Asia and Europe by operating a specially prepared Boeing 767-300 passenger aircraft.
“Air Astana has rapidly met the immediate heightened demand for air freight by operating a Boeing 767 passenger aircraft, but we must strictly enforce European Aviation Safety Agency weight and volume regulations regarding cargo placed on seats,” said Zhanna Shayakhmetova, director of freight in Air Astana.