ASTANA, Kazakhstan – Air Astana, the flag carrier of Kazakhstan, has marked the twelfth anniversary of its first flight from Almaty to Astana. Since 15th May 2002, the airline has expanded dramatically with staff numbers growing to 4,000 and the current fleet of 31 Airbus, Boeing and Embraer airliners operating a network of 60 routes to 41 international and 19 domestic destinations. With the arrival of five new aircraft so far this year and a further Boeing 767 aircraft arriving in the coming months, the average age of the fleet will fall to five years by the end of 2014, making it one of the youngest in the world.
Over the past 12 years, Air Astana has safely performed more than 280,000 flights and carried more than 24 million passengers and 132,000 tons of cargo. The airline has successfully passed the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) on four consecutive occasions.Operational on-time performance for 2014 stands at 88%, despite tough operating conditions during the winter.
Air Astana became the first carrier from Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Eastern Europe to be awarded the prestigious 4-Star rating by Skytrax in its World Airline Awards 2012 and was named The Best Airline in Central Asia and India. Both accolades were repeated in 2013.
Air Astana has been profitable in all but one year of operation and contributed greatly to the Kazakhstan’s economy, with tax payments exceeding US$300million. The airline has never received any state subsidy.
Last month’s lifting of restrictions by the EU has cleared the way for the expansion of services to Europe, with a third weekly frequency on the Astana to London being added next month, together with launch of summer season charter flights to Barcelona, Heraklion and Rhodes.New scheduled services to Paris and Prague will start in 2015.
“Air Astana has proved to be a remarkable success story over the past 12 years, with consistently safe, reliable, convenient and high quality air service making it internationally recognised as Central Asia’s leading carrier,” said Peter Foster, President of Air Astana. “At this proud moment, I would like to thank our passengers for choosing to fly with us, our staff for their great loyalty and hard work, our partners for such wholehearted cooperation and our shareholders for their trust in giving us the honour to represent Kazakhstan around the world.”
Air Astana is a joint venture between Kazakhstan’s national wealth fund Samruk Kazyna and BAE Systems, with respective shares of 51% and 49%.