Air Astana has, for many years, won awards for its quality, service, in-flight catering and entertainment. It is 49% owned by British Aerospace and its Chairman and Chief Executive is Yorkshireman Peter Foster, who was recognised by the late Queen Elizabeth II for his services to aviation with the award of an OBE.
Almaty was the capital of Kazakhstan until 1997 when, due to the constant threat of earthquakes, the capital was moved to purpose-built Astana, the world’s newest capital city.
As you would expect from a major city, it’s lively and vibrant with an excellent night-life. There are numerous hotels, including those from major international brands, and a great range of restaurants. What may surprise overseas visitors is that the city is so safe that locals happily stand by the roadsides hitching rides from passing motorists.
The main attraction in the city centre is Panfilov Park. The park itself is a memorial to soldiers lost in the two world wars and one structure contains part of the old Berlin Wall. It is also home to the magnificent Russian Orthodox Ascension Cathedral, also known as the Zenkov Cathedral, the largest wooden cathedral in the world. It was traditionally built without nails, partly in order to make it resistant to earthquake damage.