Air Astana (Almaty) has retired its last Fokker F.27 Mk. 050 (Fokker 50). The airline issued this statement:
Air Astana continues to phase out the fleet of Fokker 50 turboprops, with the last two aircraft scheduled to be returned to the lessor in January 2013. The original fleet of six aircraft will be fully replaced by new generation Embraer E-190 jet airliners by mid 2013.
During eight years of service with Air Astana, the Fokker 50 fleet completed 50,000 domestic flights, flew 90,000 hours and safely carried 1.5 million passengers.
As a result of the Fokker 50 being withdrawn from service, Air Astana ceased operating Astana to Uralsk, Astana to and Atyrau to Uralsk services on December 1, 2012. The airports at Uralsk and Semey do not meet the international safety and equipment standards required to support Embraer E-190 jet operations. The resumption of flights to Uralsk and Semey will only be possible after a major upgrade of airports to jet standard.
“Modernizing the fleet is a strategic priority of Air Astana, with new generation Embraer E-190s having started replacing Fokker 50 turboprops on the short-haul routes over the past 18 months. The new aircraft offer our passengers more comfort and time-saving convenience to destinations Kazakhstan, Central Asia, Russia and the Caucasus”, said Peter Foster, President of Air Astana. “Air Astana regrets any inconvenience caused to passengers caused by the withdraw of these turboprop services, but safety is our number one priority”.
Copyright Photo: Henk A. Duivenvoorden.