Kazakhstan’s national flag carrier, Air Astana, has announced it will officially launch a direct air route from Almaty, the country’s largest city, to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam on January 1, 2013, with two flights a week, every Wednesday and Friday.

A Boeing 757-200 aircraft will leave Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCM City at 13:00 and arrive at Almaty International Airport at 19:50 Vietnamese time, then turn back to Vietnam at 0 1:15 the following morning.

According to Air Astana, the opening of the route, which coincides with Vietnam ’s preparations for the free trade agreement negotiations with the Customs Alliance of Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan, marks a milestone in the relationship between the two countries, serving their long-term cooperation and bringing people from both countries closer together.

Passengers who book their ticket via Vietway Aviation Services before January 1, 2013, and fly within January, will be eligible for a 30 percent discount.-VNA