Dear Air Astana flyer,

- Peter Foster President & CEO Air Astana

My countrymen Arthur Conolly and Charles Stoddart did not overly enjoy Bukhara. After spending time in the ‘Bug Pit’ in the company of flesh-eating insects and vermin, they were marched out to the centre of the citadel, known as the

Ark, and publicly beheaded. That was in 1842. Fortunatel­y today’s visitors can enjoy Bukhara in a less stressful way.

The city, one of Islam’s most ancient and venerable centres of learning, was sacked by the Mongols in the 13th century before its reconstruc­tion and enhancemen­t by Tamburlain­e the Great a century and a half later. Whilst his capital of Samarkand may boast the grander monuments, Bukhara is arguably the most beautiful of all the

Silk Road cities, because the medieval old town has remained largely intact. Whilst its gorgeous lapis lazuli-coloured mosques, palaces and madrasas have been tastefully restored, it is the laid-back vibe of its shaded squares and courtyards, its coffee shops and caravanser­ais, and its exotic bazaars, which have transforme­d Bukhara into a magnet for the travelling cognoscent­i. Take advantage of Uzbekistan’s new visa-free regime and Air Astana’s regular flights to nearby Tashkent to visit, before mass tourism inevitably descends. Don’t leave without an exquisite Bukhara carpet (avoiding machine-made knock-offs). One can even, if so inclined, visit the Bug Pit, with helpful explanator­y signage of its reserved status ‘for the least favourite prisoners’.

After much delay, we finally take delivery of our 2nd and 3rd Airbus 321 Long Range aircraft this spring. These will enable us to extend its deployment to our Moscow and London routes. Paris, Frankfurt, Dubai and Istanbul will follow soon if Airbus is able to meet its revised delivery timetable. I firmly believe that this aircraft offers the finest single-aisle travel experience in the world’s skies today, and I hope that as many of you as possible have the chance to experience it soon.

I wish you a pleasant flight with Air Astana today.

Yours truly

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