The Abu Dhabi-based carrier will fly direct, four times a week, to the central Asian republic and will deploy an Airbus A319 aircraft on the route. Almaty will be the 49th destination in Etihad’s network.

The announcement follows a state visit to Kazakhstan by Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed al-Nahyan, president of the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi, aimed at boosting co-operation between the two nations.

At the recent Farnborouh International Airshow in the UK, the airline placed one of the largest orders for new aircraft in aviation history. The company placed a firm order with Airbus worth $12bn and another with Boeing worth close to $10bn. If all options are exercised, the company could buy about 200 planes.