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Is a one hour layover in Aktau (SCO) long enough - Air Astana from LHR to Almaty ALA

Is a one hour layover in Aktau (SCO) long enough - Air Astana from LHR to Almaty ALA

Old Mar 27, 2024, 5:39 am
  #1  
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Is a one hour layover in Aktau (SCO) long enough - Air Astana from LHR to Almaty ALA

Good afternoon all,

I hope everyone is well.

I am just after some advice about transfer times at Aktau Airport in Kazakhstan if anyone has any experience of this. I am looking to fly from London Heathrow to Almaty and there are flights with Air Astana (who I understand are a very good airline) that have a one hour transfer time in Aktau (SCO) - this is both on the way there and the way back.

I've tried to research this online and haven't had too much success finding any definitive info. I did also try to contact Air Astana and I received some replies back in Kazakh which I ran through google translate but it really didn't make too much sense and didn't appear to fully answer my question.

I have looked at photos of the airport online and Aktau appears to be a small airport so easy to navigate.

Normally I would feel that 1 hour is a bit tight, but given the size of the airport and the fact it is all on the same booking, it might be doable (if a little tense!).

Any info anyone might have would be very much appreciated.

Many thanks,
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Old Mar 27, 2024, 8:08 am
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According to ExpertFlyer the MCT International to Domestic is 1.00hr, and if these tickets are being sold with that connection time then it's a makeable, legal connection.

Minimum Connect Times Share Results
STANDARD.D/D...D/I...I/D...I/I.
ONLINE .20 1.00 1.00 1.30
OFFLINE .20 1.00 1.00 1.30
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Old Mar 27, 2024, 6:48 pm
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Originally Posted by LambG75
Good afternoon all,

I hope everyone is well.

I am just after some advice about transfer times at Aktau Airport in Kazakhstan if anyone has any experience of this. I am looking to fly from London Heathrow to Almaty and there are flights with Air Astana (who I understand are a very good airline) that have a one hour transfer time in Aktau (SCO) - this is both on the way there and the way back.

I've tried to research this online and haven't had too much success finding any definitive info. I did also try to contact Air Astana and I received some replies back in Kazakh which I ran through google translate but it really didn't make too much sense and didn't appear to fully answer my question.

I have looked at photos of the airport online and Aktau appears to be a small airport so easy to navigate.

Normally I would feel that 1 hour is a bit tight, but given the size of the airport and the fact it is all on the same booking, it might be doable (if a little tense!).

Any info anyone might have would be very much appreciated.

Many thanks,
Welcome to flyertalk. For future reference, you may get better location specific advice by posting in the forum for the country at issue- though I imagine even the Asia forum here may not have a ton of experience with this particular airport!!
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Old Mar 28, 2024, 8:14 am
  #4  
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Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to my post, I really appreciate it and this info is very helpful. Many thanks
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Old Mar 28, 2024, 8:15 am
  #5  
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Originally Posted by RetiredATLATC
According to ExpertFlyer the MCT International to Domestic is 1.00hr, and if these tickets are being sold with that connection time then it's a makeable, legal connection.

Minimum Connect Times Share Results
STANDARD.D/D...D/I...I/D...I/I.
ONLINE .20 1.00 1.00 1.30
OFFLINE .20 1.00 1.00 1.30
Thanks very much for taking time to reply to my post and provide this information, it is very helpful and much appreciated. All the best
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Old Mar 28, 2024, 3:08 pm
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Originally Posted by LambG75
Any info anyone might have would be very much appreciated.
If you are booking this as a single ticket from the airline in question, then there is no issue. You do not have to second-guess the airline's decision to offer you this routing; if, for whatever reason, your inbound is late and you miss the connection, the airline will be obliged to rebook you and take care of you in the meantime. However, if it is critical that you get to your final destination on time, then you would also be advised to look at other options, such as taking earlier flights/departing the day prior to what you are currently considering.

If, on the other hand, you are looking to "self-connect", i.e. you will be arriving in this airport on a first ticket, and departing within an hour from that airport on a separate ticket, then you would be crazy to book these flights. When you "self-connect", you bear all the responsibilities - and expense - of arranging your replacement transport if any delays or disruption means that your onward second flight has closed or even departed before you make it that airport.

When self-connecting, you should pad your connection with as much extra time as possible so that, in most possible cases of disruption, you will still make your next flight.
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Old Mar 29, 2024, 4:57 am
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Originally Posted by Adam1222
Welcome to flyertalk. For future reference, you may get better location specific advice by posting in the forum for the country at issue- though I imagine even the Asia forum here may not have a ton of experience with this particular airport!!
Choosing the single best subforum can be a challenge when dealing with topics that are off the beaten path and/or cases could be made for more than one forum.

In this case, I think the OP was smart to go with Information Desk instead of Asia or Other Asian Airlines, even though one of the latter might make more sense because: 1. those forums are not heavily trafficked, 2. odds are that even regulars of those forums (e.g. me) don't have relevant knowledge/experience; and 3. if/when the thread gets moved, whoever moves it will probably leave a link to it in the initial forum.

Before anyone opines that banking on #3 is a sneaky workaround to the prohibition against duplicate threads (a rule I've always appreciated, by the way), I'll preemptively point out that a single thread with a second door is still a single thread, and does not result in parallel conversations.

I'm not suggesting that people with queries about topics that obviously belong in a specific airline or destination forum should dump them in Information Desk or Travelbuzz out of laziness.

Having gotten that tangent out of the way, my response to the OP is not to sweat that connection if at least two of the following conditions apply: 1. through ticket; 2. the next connecting flight results in an inconveniently long connection; or 3. buying a new ticket for the second flight isn't prohibitively expensive.

The OP should know whether or not #1 applies and we can help research the other conditions, if desired.
​​
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Old Mar 29, 2024, 6:49 am
  #8  
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I looked at this earlier in the year (ended up taking TK via IST) but my understanding is that this Aktau stop has been forced on Air Astana because they can no longer overfly Russia and they dont have planes capable of doing the longer routing - therefore Aktau is effectively a technical/ fuel stop. On that basis, and my understanding when I was maybe taking it, was that Air Astana were running it as an LHR-(Aktau)-ALA service, and therefore there was zero risk of not making the second flight.

tl;dr - OP, dont worry 😉
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Old Mar 31, 2024, 10:12 am
  #9  
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Does the OP have a change of flight number in Aktau? It seems to be the same airline, so I'm wondering whether this is a connection or a direct flight.
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Old Mar 31, 2024, 10:37 am
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist
Does the OP have a change of flight number in Aktau? It seems to be the same airline, so I'm wondering whether this is a connection or a direct flight.


I'm guess 340a-440a isn't an especially busy time there.
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