Kazakhstan’s Air Astana saw its revenues grow by 13% to US$394 million, matched by a similar increase in passenger numbers, although net profit declined to US$4.95 million. Capacity grew by 11% with the addition of an additional Boeing 757-200 and three additional Embraer 190s. The fleet size now stands at 26 aircraft after the retirement of three of its six Fokker 50s, with the remainder due for retirement by January 2013 and replacement by two additional Embraer 190s.
New routes were launched from Astana to Omsk in southeast Russia, from Astana to Tashkent and Baku, from Astana to Shymkent and Aktau in southern and western Kazakhstan, and from Almaty to Kazan in southern Russia. Planned new routes for the second half include Almaty to Hong Kong, Almaty to Ho Chi Minh City and Atyrau to Moscow. Flights from Astana to Beijing will be added to its existing Almaty to Beijing services. The airline will take delivery of four new Airbus A320s and two new A321s from November 2012 to May 2013, and recently placed an order for four new Boeing 767-300s and three Boeing 787-8s, to be delivered from November 2013 through 2017.
Air Astana was upgraded to a 4 star airline and voted Best Airline, Central Asia and India, at the Skytrax annual awards ceremony held at the Farnborough airshow in June.
“The first half was challenging due to fuel price increases of more than 140% over the same period last year. The first quarter in particular was very tough.” stated Peter Foster, President of Air Astana. “The second half, traditionally our strong period, is looking more promising as fuel prices have come off slightly and cost savings in other areas kick in. All markets with the exception of Europe continue to grow and we are confident of a 10th straight year of profitability. In particular our ‘extended home market strategy’ of developing routes to and from our near neighbours continues to gather pace. These markets are small but have terrific growth potential. I am also pleased that despite these difficult conditions we have been able to strengthen our product and service reputation, confirmed by the recent Skytrax awards.”