Air Astana to launch direct Almaty-Ho Chi Minh flight 24 марта 2013, 16:49
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Vietnamese artists at the event timed to the launch of new Air Astana's flight. Photo by Roza Yessenkulova©
Air Astana is planning to launch a direct flight from Kazakhstan to Vietnam the next season, Tengrinews.kz reports from Ho Chi Minh City. Kazakhstan citizens can now fly to Vietnam’s biggest city with a population of 10 million people via Bangkok. The layover is around 1 hour. The visa can be obtained both in Kazakhstan and upon arrival to Ho Chi Minh City.
“Kazakhstan and Vietnam have firm political connection. Ho Chi Minh is for Kazakhstan not only a new and interesting direction, but also a matter of expansion of the commercial connections. Kazakhstan has been generating profits from its natural resources and South-East Asian countries have vast experience of making profits for human resources. That’s why Kazakhstan and Vietnam can both win from merging these different directions,” president of Air Astana Peter Foster said on the sidelines of the official event in Ho Chi Minh City on the occasion of opening of the new flight.
The event was attended by representatives of Vietnamese authorities, Kazakhstan Ambassador to China and Vietnam Nurlan Yermekbayev, top management of Air Astana, a group of Kazakhstan journalists and bloggers. The guests were entertained by Kazakhstan and Vietnamese artists. Famous violin player Zhamilya Serkebayeva was the clou of the evening.
The company has no fears that the demand for this direction would lower during summer when South-East Asia is challenged with rains for several months. The planes fly twice a week: on Wednesdays and Fridays. Meanwhile, the plan is to separate Almaty-Bangkok and Almaty-Ho Chi Minh City flights.
According to Richard Ledger, Air Astana’s Director Sales Worldwide, the passengers flow will be enough to separate these flights in the coming winter season. According to him, the company is now carrying 60 passengers per flight to Vietnam and according to the preliminary calculations this number can reach 100 passengers by 2014.
“Kazakhstan citizens' interest to this country is growing. That’s why we have decided to launch the flight to Saigon. Vietnam is interesting for Kazakhstan citizens mainly as a tourist destination. As for business relations, there is a certain number of Vietnamese working in oil and gas industry in western Kazakhstan: in Aktau and Atyrau. Meanwhile, we are expecting a healthy import of textile goods from Vietnam,” Ledger said.
According to him, Vietnamese citizen face some difficulties with obtaining Kazakhstan visa, as they have to go to Kuala-Lumpur or Bangkok to do it. Kazakhstan citizens have a similar problem. Opening Kazakhstan’s representative office in Vietnam would ease up the situation a lot, Ledger noted.
By Roza Yessenkulova