Carriers searching for untapped traffic flows in Central Asia
Over in Kazakhstan, Air Astana signaled its expansion plans in February with an order worth more than $1 billion for 15 aircraft, which includes four B767s and three B787s. The country’s three international transit points have been handling a number of freighter flights between China and Europe, but none has a direct link to North America. That crown will most likely go to Krasnoyarsk in Siberia, which the Russian authorities have been pushing as a stop-over between Europe and Asia. AirBridgeCargo Airlines has been talking for a few years about a transpolar freighter route that would allow it to feed freight from its flights out of China to U.S.-bound departures. However, at this point, the Russian cargo airline does not have enough planes to mount U.S. flights across the North Pole, said Robert Song, the carrier’s vice president and regional director, Asia Pacific.