Kazakh flag carrier Air Astana has retired the first Fokker 50 from its fleet, as it begins to move its regional operations over to the Embraer 190.
The first of six Fokker 50s in the fleet was retired earlier this month after eight years of service. Since entering into operation on 27th April 2004, the aircraft had completed almost 34,000 flights during its lifetime with airline, serving short haul destinations. Three further Fokker 50s will be removed from service between June and August this year, with the last two aircraft remaining in service until spring 2013.
The new generation Embraer 190 is gradually taking over on domestic and international routes previously operated by the Fokker 50 fleet. By comparison to the Fokker 50 configuration of 50 economy class seats, the Embraer 190 is configured with 97 seats in a two class layout (nine in business and 88 in economy). The twin engine jet is optimised for medium range flights, with a maximum range of 4,500 km at a maximum cruise speed of 890 kph.
“The Fokker 50 has proved to be an outstanding workhorse in developing new routes and has served Air Astana well over the past eight years. The aircraft has consistently demonstrated high reliability and performance on the short sectors, but the time has now come to replace it with the new Embraer 190, which offers greater speed, range, passenger comfort and operating efficiency,” said Peter Foster, president of Air Astana.
The Embraer 190 first entered service last year, with the fleet destined to grow to six aircraft by the end of 2012.
Air Astana currently operates a fleet of 25 aircraft comprising two Boeing 767-300, five Boeing 757-200, ten Airbus A321/A320/A319, three Embraer E-190 and five Fokker 50. The airline serves 22 domestic and 27 international destinations.