Improved access to the Silk Road will be offered from Europe next year with new through flights to Tashkent in Uzbekistan.

Kazakhstan carrier Air Astana is to run flights from Heathrow, Frankfurt and Paris via its Astana hub from March 29.

Tashkent flights from Heathrow will run three times a week.

Timings have been optimised for seamless transfers to Tashkent at a newly completed airport terminal in Astana.

Lead-in return economy fares from London to Tashkent start at £386 and £1,643 in business class.

Air Astana marketing and sales vice president Richard Ledger said: “We are delighted to be able to offer this twice weekly service to Tashkent from three of our European departure airports on what we believe will be a highly popular route.

“Interest in the Silk Road destinations continues to grow and the addition of Tashkent offers passengers the perfect opportunity to combine a visit to Kazakhstan with Uzbekistan to further explore the region’s fascinating history.”