Beautiful: Air Astana’s New A321LR

Filed Under: Other Airlines

Air Astana is the flag carrier of Kazakhstan, and they’re a pretty awesome little carrier. I flew them a few years ago from Seoul to London, and was very pleasantly surprised. If you’re curious to read about those flights:

Air Astana 767

Well, today the airline had a ceremony to celebrate an awesome new addition to their fleet.

Air Astana’s New A321LR

Air Astana has taken delivery of their first of seven Airbus A321LR aircraft. This is the long range version of the A321 (the airline also flies the standard A321 and A321neo). These planes are leased from Air Lease Corporation, and they should take delivery of all of them in the next 12-18 months depending on Airbus’ production capacity.

Air Astana A321LR

Air Astana is Central Asia’s first airline to operate the A321LR. The airline will use the A321LR to replace the 757-200, of which they have four. They will fly the plane to both Asia and Europe.

Air Astana’s A321LR Cabin

The Air Astana’s A321LR will feature a total of 166 seats, including 16 business class seats and 150 economy class seats.

The 16 Recaro business class seats will be fully flat and in a staggered configuration. They’re virtually identical to the products offered on the Aer Lingus A321LR and TAP Air Portugal A321LR.

Aer Lingus’ A321LR business class

In business class there will offer 16″ personal monitors, while in economy there will be 10″ personal monitors. The airline is using Zodiac’s RAVE in-flight entertainment system. Interestingly it doesn’t appear that the planes will have wifi.

How Does This Product Compare?

The A321LR represents a significant improvement over the 757-200. Not only are the economics better, but the passenger experience is much better. Air Astana has fully flat business class seats on the A321LR, while the 757s have rather uncomfortable angled seats.

Air Astana 757 business class

Air Astana’s biggest plane is the 767, and those planes have staggered seats as well. So the A321LR has a similar product to their 767 (and arguably even a bit better, since I prefer the type of staggered seats on the A321LR).

Air Astana 767 business class

Bottom Line

Congrats to Air Astana for taking delivery of their first A321LR. This represents a huge improvement over their 757 in terms of economics and passenger experience. I loved flying Air Astana a few years ago and enjoyed my brief time in the country. I hope to fly their A321LR at some point in the future.

  1. Has an airline used curtains between Y+ and Y before? It just looks like extra legroom economy, and not a premium economy product. That is kind of interesting to me.

  2. @Gurujanitor: The “Old” (Soviet) Aeroflot had this in many of their IL 86s, Il 62s and TU 154s to the non-Russian soviet republics and going to Africa. There was of course no official Y+ seating at the time (and Y legroom was a generous 33-34″+) but it was used on an unpublished racial basis, Slavs in “Salon 2” and non-Slavs / Africans in “Salon 3”. And some IL 86s had 7 abreast seating instead of 8 in some “salon 2” rows. “Salon 1” was First Class.

  3. Does the fact that it is leased from Air Lease Corporation explain the German flag and D-xxxx registration? Anyway, looks beautiful and good on them!

  4. @gurujanitor: SK uses a curtain to ‘separate’ their Y+ cabin on long haul (A333, A343). I recently had a flight in Y+ with Cathay and they even had a hard wall between those cabins.

  5. @import the vikings
    I think your messing up Economy+ and premium economy.

    Eco+ (Y+) is just standard economy class with extra legroom.

  6. @Dennis
    No, the D-XXXX registration is likely provisional and applied by Airbus Hamburg so that the plane is legally allowed to undergo its test flights etc – all of the A320 family aircraft built in Hamburg are fitted with the D-XXXX registry for the purposes of test / delivery flights. Same holds true for the F-XXXX registration Airbus Toulouse applies on the A380 and other aircraft assembled there.

  7. Beautiful Air Astana A321 bird; your reviews of these ‘exotic’ airlines are always fun and informative

  8. I don’t know if I would call it beautiful. The finishing and colors of the setas just seem rather bland, compared to what Aer Lingus chose. Still, it is a nice upgrade, and the seat itself matters, I guess, not the colors.

    Is that premium economy or economy plus?

  9. If you’re wondering, as I was, why Air Astana doesn’t fly to Astana, and where Astana has got to, it got renamed Nur-Sultan this year after the previous President. (Also formerly known as Akmoly > Akmolinsk > Tselinograd > Akmola!)

    Almaty, on the other hand, was the capital until 1997, although it hasn’t had quite so many names (Only Alma-Ata and Verniy.)

    Glad that’s cleared up…

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