Air Astana is an airline based in Astana, Kazakhstan. It is the national carrier of Kazakhstan and operates scheduled domestic and international services. Its main bases are Astana International Airport and Almaty International Airport. The airline was established on 14 September 2001 and started operations on 15 May 2002. Air Astana leased its first three Boeing 737 aircraft in May 2002. Three Boeing 757s were added and in 2004 five Fokker 50s were acquired, the latter to largely develop the domestic network. It became the national carrier after the government closed Air Kazakhstan in February 2004 and transferred all route authorities to Air Astana. It is a joint venture owned by the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan (51%) and BAE Systems (49%). It has 1,761 employees (at March 2007). The airline recently entered partnership with Lufthansa expanding flight offering for the passengers of both airlines. Air Astana has a modern fleet of Boeing and Airbus planes, reflecting a vested interest among former Soviet nations in preferring Western versus Russian equipment. The Air Astana fleet includes the following aircraft, as of 18 September 2008: Airbus A319-132 (1), Airbus A320-232 (7 and 6 on order), Airbus A321-231 (2), Boeing 757-200 (4), Boeing 767-300 (2), and Fokker 50 (5). It has placed an order for six further A320 family aircraft with deliveries due to commence in 2012. By 2022 the airline hopes to have trebled its fleet to over 60 aircraft.