Air Astana, Central Asia’s leading carrier, is celebrating 21 years of operations today. The carrier has grown dramatically since the first service was operated between Almaty and Astana in 2002 and has steadily built a reputation for award-winning customer service, operational efficiency, high safety standards and consistent profitably without the support of shareholders or government funding.
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This long-term record of success culminated in 2022 being the airline’s best-ever year, with the group reporting profit after tax of US$78.4 million, on revenues of US$1.03 billion. For the full year 2022, Air Astana and its LCC jointly carried 7.35 million passengers.
The group currently serves over 90 destinations in Kazakhstan, Central Asia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, China, Germany, Greece, India, Korea, Montenegro, Netherlands, Thailand, Turkey, UAE and the United Kingdom, with a fleet of 43 modern Airbus, Boeing and Embraer aircraft.
Innovation has always been at the heart of the airline’s development strategy, with initiatives ranging from the very successful “Extended Home Market” initiative that started drawing traffic into Almaty and Astana from surrounding countries in Central Asia and the Caucasus region from 2010 onwards to the launch in May 2019 of FlyArystan, the low-cost division, that carried more than 3.2 million passengers to domestic and International destinations in 2022.
Other notable achievements over the years have included the launch in 2008 of the Ab-initio pilot training scheme, which has delivered 300 qualified pilots to the airline; the Introduction in 2007 of the Nomad frequent flyer scheme; the opening in 2018 of a completely new Engineering Centre in Astana, with capabilities up to C-check and most recently, the development of a Lifestyle destination network that has generated substantial new business to offset the impact of the global health crisis and difficulties in other markets.
Starting first in 2010, Air Astana has repeatedly received service excellence awards from Skytrax, APEX and Tripadvisor, together with a Global Market Leadership Award from Air Transport World in 2015.
“Air Astana’s 21st Anniversary gives true cause for celebration, with the successful strategies and innovative solutions of the past now providing a firm foundation for an exciting new era of sustainable growth in the future,“ said Peter Foster, President and CEO of Air Astana. “My sincere thanks go out to every one of our 6,000 dedicated staff and the millions of customers who has enabled Air Astana to overcome every challenge in recent years to reach this remarkable achievement in 2023”.
Air Astana is looking to the future with plans for significant further development of the fleet. Since the beginning of 2022, the Group has received eight new aircraft, with seven more aircraft scheduled for delivery by the end of 2023.
There are additional contracts for the delivery of another 13 aircraft from 2024 to 2026. In addition to expanding the Airbus A320neo / A321LR fleet in service, the airline will take delivery of the first of three Boeing 787s beginning in 2025. These new widebody aircraft will enable the airline to launch services to a number of long-range destinations, including those in North America. More immediately, Air Astana will launch new services to Tel Aviv in Israel and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia later this year and continue to boost frequencies on existing routes. In line with these fleet and network development plans, passenger traffic is forecast to grow to 8.5 million in 2023.