Bluebox Wow to be deployed on new Embraer E190-E2 aircraft and Airbus A320s serving domestic and regional routes

Dunfermline, UK | December 20, 2018–The impressive snow leopard livery on Air Astana’s new Embraer E190-E2 wasn’t providing the only wow-factor at the special celebratory launch event at Nursultan Nazarbayev International Airport last Friday. The aircraft was also equipped with Bluebox Wow portable wireless IFE boxes which have been selected by the airline to deliver in-flight entertainment to Air Astana passengers on the new aircraft – a first for the new E190-E2.

“All of us at Air Astana are pleased to receive our first E190-E2, and we look forward to a smooth entry into service and a simple transition for our pilots. We know Embraer’s E-Jets well, and have high expectations for their new generation aircraft in terms of economics, environmental impact, and levels of comfort and convenience for our customers,” said Peter Foster, President and CEO of Air Astana.

“I was delighted to be in Astana taking part in the launch of Air Astana’s new E190-E2 aircraft – and have been keen to share the news of another Bluebox IFE innovation Air Astana is delivering for its passengers,” said David Brown, Business Development Director, Bluebox. “As a provider of IFE solutions to Air Astana for nearly a decade, we are proud of our role in the evolution of their award-winning passenger experience story, and the launch of another first for the industry – portable wireless IFE on the new E190-E2 aircraft.”

Bluebox Wow will not only be deployed on Air Astana’s five new E190-E2s as they come into service, but also in business class on five Airbus A320s in February 2019. Though this is the first wireless IFE deployment for Bluebox with the airline, Air Astana have been a Bluebox customer since 2009, currently using Bluebox Ai iPads in business class on their Airbus A320, A321, Boeing B757 and Embraer E190 aircraft. With the addition of Bluebox Wow on Air Astana’s A320s, the 850 Bluebox Ai iPads will be upgraded to Bluebox Hybrid, to enable access to both pre-loaded early window content and additional streamed content. The Bluebox Hybrid devices will also be able to connect to existing fixed wireless systems deployed in the Air Astana fleet, offering additional content to business class passengers on those aircraft as well.

Bluebox Wow provides wireless content streamed to passenger devices in any aircraft cabin, including a wide range of film, TV, audio, games and other digital content, accessed through any web browser. With a remarkably low cost of ownership, Bluebox Wow is a discrete, portable, lunchbox-sized unit stowed securely in overhead bins.

Air Astana took delivery of its first of five E190-E2 aircraft on 3 December. The aircraft arrived from Brazil featuring special Air Astana “Snow Leopard” livery, intended to draw attention to the threat of extinction faced by this large wild cat, which is a native of the mountain ranges in southern Kazakhstan. Air Astana has also donated US$10,000 / Tenge 3,800,000 to Kazakhstan’s Wildlife Without Borders Fund, which is taking urgent action to protect the diminishing numbers of Snow Leopards in the country.

Air Astana currently operates a fleet of nine E190s on domestic and regional services within Kazakhstan and Central Asian countries, with the first aircraft having entered service in 2011. The E190-E2s will replace older Embraer E190s in Air Astana’s fleet, which also includes Airbus A320 family aircraft and Boeing 767-300ERs and 757-200s. While the E190-E2 is the same size as its predecessor – fitted out in a 2-2 configuration accommodating up to 114 passengers – the new jet offers significant reductions in various fuel and MRO-related costs in addition to improved environmental credentials.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa | April 5, 2016– Air Astana passengers will soon become among the first in the world to experience broadband in-flight connectivity following an agreement recently signed with air transport IT provider, Rockwell Collins.

Internet access will be available using personal computers, tablets and smartphones.

Air Astana will install the associated Inmarsat Global Xpress (GX) high speed connectivity system on its fleet of Boeing 767 airliners commencing in September 2016. This will make Air Astana one of the world’s first airlines in the world to go operational with the GX system.

“As a customer oriented airline, Air Astana is always looking to improve the passenger experience on the ground and in the air. We’re very excited about the new in-flight connectivity opportunities that GX reliably provides to Air Astana passengers,” said Andrey Gulev, Commercial Engineer Manager at Air Astana. “After carefully reviewing a number of competing offers, Air Astana’s decision came down to Rockwell Collins’ ability to provide a cost-effective solution that was tailored to meet all our needs.”

“This GX Aviation service opens up new possibilities for Air Astana and its customers,” said Jeff Standerski, senior vice president, Information Management Services (IMS) for Rockwell Collins. “Air Astana’s passengers will soon experience what only a handful of others around the world will—the fastest and most reliable inflight connectivity available. For Air Astana, this service offers the opportunity to develop new offerings that go far beyond what’s possible today.”

The new service will be available to Business and Economy class passengers on all three of Air Astana’s Boeing 767s. Using their own devices passengers will be able to surf the internet, use various instant messenger applications and check e-mails. First aircraft installation will commence in September 2016 and will be followed by system installation on the other two aircraft in March and September 2017.

  • Innovative Economy Sleeper Class available on all flights to Europe

Kazakhstan | April 1, 2015– Air Astana, Kazakhstan’s Skytrax award winning carrier, launched a new three-times a week service from Astana to Paris on 29th March. The service originates In Almaty, with no change of aircraft in Astana, and is operated using a Boeing 757 configured with 16 business and 150 economy class seats. The flight time from Astana to Paris is 7 hours 5 minutes.

Along with Air Astana services to/from Frankfurt and London Heathrow, passengers flying to/from Paris can also choose to experience the innovative new Economy Sleeper Class, which provides the opportunity to rest and sleep in a lie flat position, by combining three economy seats. Economy Sleeper Class passengers are accommodated in a separate cabin and offered a Business Class mattress, pillow and duvet, with additional benefits including Priority Check-in, 30kg baggage allowance, Business Class Lounge access, Priority boarding, Fast Track for immigration / security clearance, Business Class Amenity Kit and In-flight entertainment system.

Economy fares start at EUR 585 return, including taxes.

Operating schedule: Wednesdays/Fridays/ Sundays – All times local

KC623 departs Almaty at 11.0 and arrives in Astana at 12.35

KC223 departs Astana at 14.00 and arrives in Paris CDG at 17.05

KC224 departs Paris at 19.55 and arrives in Astana at 06.05 +1

KC624 departs Astana at 07.25 and arrives in Almaty at 08.55+1

“The new service to Paris is a major step in developing Air Astana’s European network and serves to strengthen economic, diplomatic, cultural and tourism links between France and Kazakhstan,” said Peter Foster, President of Air Astana.

Air Astana currently operates a network of 64 international and domestic routes from hubs in Astana, Almaty and Atyrau. The airline operates a fleet of 30 Boeing 767-300ER, Boeing 757-200, Airbus A320 Family and Embraer 190 aircraft, with an average age of 5.5years. Air Astana was the first carrier within CIS and Eastern Europe to receive a 4 star rating from Skytrax and also named Best Airline in Central Asia and India for the past three years. Air Astana has repeatedly passed the IATA International Safety Audit (IOSA) and is EASA part 145 certified.

In February 2015, Air Astana received the prestigious Air Transport World Market Leader Award.

Air Astana is a joint venture between Kazakhstan’s national wealth fund Samruk Kazyna and BAE Systems, with respective shares of 51% and 49%.

London, UK | August 15, 2013– Bluebox Avionics is delighted to announce that Air Astana, the flag carrier of Kazakhstan, has selected the Bluebox Ai in flight entertainment system for deployment across its expanding fleet. Air Astana has recently brought 850 Bluebox Ai units into service providing Air Astana passengers with access to the latest Hollywood early window content as well as a range of other movie, TV, audio, eMags and gaming content on the iPad.

Bruno Lefeuvre, In Flight Services Manager at Air Astana is delighted with the potential of the latest Bluebox Ai system. “We have been offering portable IFE systems for a number of years and when it came time to replace this, it provided a great opportunity to review the newest offerings in the market We were very impressed with the latest iPad-based solution from Bluebox Avionics. It’s a polished and engaging system that fits very well with the Air Astana brand and focus on customer experience. We have now rolled out the units and early feedback from our passengers and crew has been very encouraging.”

David Brown, joint Managing Director of Bluebox, is equally delighted to continue the relationship with Air Astana. “There’s always a degree of concern when an existing client goes to the market even though we know that we are fully committed to delivering an outstanding product wrapped with class leading services. We are delighted to have been selected to provide the latest Bluebox Ai system and for the opportunity to continue to work with Air Astana and its partners in the delivery of a fantastic IFE service to its passengers.”

Kazakh flag carrier continues to lead CIS region with an all western fleet, expanding Central Asia network and service innovation

August 12, 2010 – Air Astana, the flag carrier of the Republic of Kazakhstan, experienced strong growth during the first half of 2010, with passenger numbers increasing by 14% and revenue jumping 24% to US$245 million compared with the same period in 2009. The carrier performed almost 13,000 scheduled flights, with an average passenger load factor of 66%. These figures were achieved despite operational disruptions caused by a very severe winter across Kazakhstan and closure of European airspace owing to the Icelandic volcano explosion. Half yearly profit before tax was a record $33.5 million, up 34% over 2009.

Improved aircraft utilization enabled Air Astana to increase frequencies on domestic trunk routes from both Astana and Almaty, with international service frequencies being increased to Frankfurt, Baku, Urumchi, Beijing and Kuala Lumpur.

The continuing growth of Almaty as a hub for Central Asia continued with Urumqui in western China being added to the existing destinations of Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan and Novosibirsk in southern Russia. Services from Almaty to Dushanbe, capital of Tajikistan and Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan are scheduled to commence during the second half of 2010.

New Embraer 190s arriving from early 2011

A fleet of new-generation Embraer E190 airliners has been selected to operate on the airline’s expanding Central Asia network, with the first of three leased aircraft scheduled for delivery in early 2011.

Investment in future pilots

Air Astana’s strategic commitment to pilot development has seen the acquisition of Airbus A320 family and Boeing 767/757 Enhanced Virtual Procedures Trainers, jointly developed with Aerosim Technologies Inc. The airline’s first group of ab-initio pilots graduated from the Pilot Training Center, Florida Institute of Technology, USA in June. Air Astana sees the need to dramatically increase it current pool of 310 pilots in order to match route and fleet growth over the next decade.

Inflight enhancements and award accolades

Other highlights during the first half of 2010 included the introduction of the KCTV personal entertainment system on long haul services, a new website, and the latest Skytrax ranking of third best carrier in Eastern Europe, and best airline in the CIS.

“Air Astana continues to lead the CIS region with its modern fleet, expanding network, and service improvements. Financial results have exceeded expectations. These have been driven by revenue increases across all markets. Although the cost savings which resulted in 2009 being a record year have come under some pressure with the improving economy, overall prospects for the full year are good” said Peter Foster, President of Air Astana.

Air Astana commenced regular flight operations on 15th May 2002 and currently operates a network that serves 26 domestic and 23 international destinations, including London Heathrow from its hubs in Almaty, Astana and Atyrau. Air Astana flies an all western fleet comprising of two Boeing 767s, four Boeing 757s, ten Airbus A320 Family and six Fokker 50 aircraft. Air Astana is a full member of the International Air Transport Association and is the only airline in Kazakhstan with EASA Part 145 aircraft maintenance certification.

Air Astana is a joint venture between Kazakhstan’s JS Company “Sovereign Wealth Fund SamrukKazyna” (51%) and BAE Systems PLC (49%).