Kazakhstan’s flag carrier Air Astana (KC, Nur-Sultan Nazarbayev) has received a multi-currency loan equivalent to USD50 million from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for investment and working capital needs, the bank announced.

The loan will help Air Astana develop its infrastructure and operation of its maintenance and training centre in Nur-Sultan Nazarbayev with a full flight simulator for pilots, the EBRD said in a statement.

“Air Astana will make its maintenance and pilot training facilities available to other regional airlines and provide training programmes to external parties, focusing on greater involvement of female specialists,” it said.

The Kazakh carrier's fleet comprises 34 aircraft, including nine A320-200s, six A320-200Ns, two A321-200s, four A321-200Ns, six A321-200NX(LR)s, three B767-300(ER)s, and five E195-E2s, with three B787-8s on order, according to ch-aviation fleets advanced data.

The airline is jointly owned by the Kazakh national welfare fund Samruk-Kazyna and UK aerospace, defence and security company BAe Systems (Warton).

It holds an almost 73% market share (in terms of weekly seat capacity) at Nur-Sultan, according to the ch-aviation capacities module, with SCAT Airlines (DV, Shimkent) coming in at 17%. The two carriers have been under scrutiny by the country's competition watchdog over possible antimonopoly practices in the local Kazakh market.