Reykjavik is proving a useful hub for low cost operation mainly because of its geographic location. Within 3500-4000NM it covers all of Europe and Canada/US. Connecting a billion potential travelers. Opening up opportunities for NB flights. Iceland Air has done so for many years (757) and now WoW is expanding, flying A321NEO up to LAX.
3000NM & 4000NM Ranges from Keflavik.
If we look at the worlds biggest market; Europe-Asia 3.5 billion potential travelers, Kazakhstan/ Astana seems to have a similar position halfway Most European and Asian destinations. 3000-4000NM covers most of Asia & Europe, opening the potential for efficient NB flights with higher frequencies and many connections.
3000NM & 4000NM Ranges from Astana.
Air Astana was the first to sign up for the A321LR in 2015 and this month they received their first A321NEO.
Astana Connections, growth.
In 2017, ten new international routes were opened, including by foreign carriers (Finn Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Wizz Air, Air China) in direction of Warsaw, Budapest, Helsinki, Beijing and Batumi as well as Kazakhstan airlines to destinations of Xi'an, Kiev, Minvody, Yerevan and Delhi.
At the same time, 20 flights a week were added to the current flight in eleven destinations, that is to Bishkek, Istanbul, Beijing, London, Seoul, Novosibirsk, Ekaterinburg, Omsk, St. Petersburg, and Tashkent.
Astana has limited tourist appeal at this stage, despite the marginally democratic government trying to boost this. But Reykjavik doesn't see large scale tourism either. Or Singapore, or Dubai. They are hubs.
Like Middle east carriers money comes from below they have a lot of oil & gas and Kazakhstan has the second largest uranium, chromium, lead, and zinc reserves, the third largest manganese reserves, the fifth largest copper reserves, and ranks in the top ten for coal, iron, and gold. And they are willing to spend.