Kazakhstan’s flagship carrier Air Astana has received its first Airbus A321LR aircraft on lease from American company Air Lease Corporation.

The aircraft will join the airline’s fleet of 18 Airbus aircraft, which includes eight A320s and four A321s, as well as three A320neo and three A321neo airplanes.

Air Astana’s A321LR aircraft is powered by Pratt & Whitney engines and can accommodate a total of 166 people. It includes 16 Business Full lie flat and 150 Economy class seats in a two-class configuration.

It offers premium wide-body comfort in a single-aisle aircraft cabin and will enable the Kazakhstan flag carrier to continue its growth strategy of expansion into European destinations and Asia.

The A321LR is a longest-range version of the A320neo family and allows airlines to fly long-range operations of up to 4,000 nautical miles (nm).

It can enter new long-haul markets, which were earlier not accessible with single-aisle aircraft.

In a press statement, Airbus said: “The A320neo and its derivatives are the world’s best-selling single-aisle aircraft family with over 6,500 orders from more than 100 customers.

“It has pioneered and incorporated the latest technologies, including new-generation engines and the industry’s reference cabin design, delivering 20% fuel cost per seat savings alone.”

The A320neo also offers environmental benefits with nearly a 50% reduction in noise footprint.

The A321LR was the longest-range version of the re-engined jet before Airbus unveiled its new A321XLR variant in June. The service entry of XLR is planned for 2023.

In February 2012, Air Astana ordered 15 new planes in a deal worth more than $1bn to expand and modernise its fleet.