Route Analysis: Almaty-Colombo

Kazakhstan’s Air Astana will begin scheduled service to Sri Lanka in December with a route to the country’s main international gateway Colombo Bandaranaike (CMB). Flights from Almaty (ALA) will operate twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays from Dec. 3, 2021 using Airbus A321LR aircraft.

Departure from Almaty will be at 5.30 a.m. and arrival in Colombo at 11.30 a.m., with the return flight from Colombo departing at 12.30 p.m. and arriving back in Almaty at 7.40 p.m. Respective flight times are 6 hr. 30 min. and 6 hr. 40 min. The planned launch of the service comes after the airline offered charter flights to Mattala Rajapaksa (HRI) earlier this year.

“Air Astana successfully operated charter flights between Almaty and Sri Lanka between February and April 2021, with almost 3,000 passengers carried on the route,” said Islam Sekerbekov, Air Astana's sales director. “Given the proven popularity of the earlier service, we are very pleased to be returning to the market with regular scheduled flights.”

According to data provided by OAG Schedules Analyser, Air Astana’s new ALA-CMB service launches two days after SriLankan Airlines also begins serving the destinations. The Sri Lanka flag-carrier is opening a 2X-weekly route on Wednesdays and Saturdays using A321s.

Although O&D traffic between Kazakhstan and Sri Lanka totaled just 1,500 two-way passengers in 2019, figures from Sabre Market Intelligence reveal, both Air Astana and SriLankan Airlines will be hoping that the new route will appeal to leisure travelers seeking a winter vacation.

Sri Lanka’s borders are currently open to fully vaccinated passengers, while unvaccinated travelers are required to provide a negative PCR test certificate obtained no longer than 72 hours prior to departure.

The country is in the process of launching a five-year tourism campaign designed to entice international visitors. The program will target countries including France, Germany, India, Russia and the UK.



Air Astana


Airbus A321neo



Resumption date:

Dec. 3, 2021


4,031 km

O&D traffic demand (2019):


Annual growth:


Average base fare (2019):


Photo credit: Rob Finlayson

David Casey

David Casey is Editor in Chief of Routes, the global route development community's trusted source for news and information.