Central Asian carrier Air Astana is celebrating 21 years of operations this week. The airline has further cause for celebration as its anniversary comes in the wake of what has been its best ever year.
The carrier has grown dramatically since the first service was operated between Almaty and Astana in 2002. It has steadily built a reputation for award winning customer service, operational efficiency, high safety standards and consistent profitability.
This has been achieved without the support of shareholders or government funding.
2022 the best ever year
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, United Kingdom, Georgia, Azerbaijan, China, Germany, Greece, India, Korea, Montenegro, Netherlands, Thailand, Turkey and the UAE.
It currently operates a fleet of 43 modern Airbus, Boeing and Embraer aircraft.
Highly successful marketing strategy for the airline came in the form of the “Extended Home Market” initiative.
This started drawing traffic into Almaty and Astana from surrounding countries in the Central Asia and the Caucasus region from 2010 onwards, to the launch in May 2019 of FlyArystan.
FlyArystan became the airline’s low-cost subsidiary, and carried more than 3.2 million passengers to domestic and international destinations in 2022.
Other notable achievements over the years have included the launch of the Ab-initio pilot training scheme in 2008, which has delivered 300 qualified pilots to the airline.
2018 saw the opening of a completely new Engineering Centre in Astana, with capabilities up to C-check.
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.
Peter Foster, President and CEO of Air Astana said: “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.”
“My sincere thanks go out to every one of our 6,000 dedicated staff and the millions of customers who have enabled Air Astana to overcome every challenge in recent years to reach this remarkable achievement in 2023”.
Proposed fleet expansion
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 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 from 2025.
These new widebody aircraft will enable the airline to launch services to a number of long-haul 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.