Air Astana: International Traffic Recovery
Air Astana has announced its operational results for the 1st half of 2017. The airline carried 1,894,391 passengers for the period January-June 2017, of which 1,007,413 were domestic passengers and 886,978 were international passengers.
Overall Passenger traffic increased by 12% for the period. Whilst passenger growth on domestic routes was a relatively modest 4%, international traffic grew by 22%, driven to a large extent by network traffic transiting through its Astana and Almaty hubs, which grew by 62%. Cargo uplift increased by 22% for the same period.
Commenting on the results, Peter Foster, President and CEO stated: “Kazakhstan’s economy is delivering modest growth after two very difficult years, and we expect this to accelerate as the economy continues to diversify. However international passenger growth is most encouraging, particularly network business. Astana EXPO 2017, further easing of visa restrictions, the new terminal at Nursultan Nazarbayev International Airport at Astana, and continued positive developments within the airline are all combining to set up strong traffic recovery.”
Peter adds: “Cost pressure, driven by higher fuel prices in Kazakhstan, has increased, however the airline’s unit cost remains very competitive and enables us to increase our share of long-haul major market business. This is helped by increased awareness in foreign markets of the quality of our product, and we have yet again won the Skytrax Award for ‘Best Airline, Central Asia and India’.
We continue to introduce product improvements including the introduction of onboard internet connectivity, and have recently concluded an agreement to acquire five brand new Embraer E2 regional jets from autumn 2018. These fuel efficient aircraft, when combined with the Airbus 320 NEO family aircraft of which we continue to take delivery, will drive continued improvements in efficiency and product quality.”