Air Astana Announces Plans for Future
OREANDA-NEWS. February 01, 2011. Air Astana, the national carrier of Kazakhstan has presented its operating results for 2010. During the year, there was an increase in passenger traffic compared to 2009 and 2008. The airline carried 2.57 million passengers in 2010 (2.2 million in 2009 and 2.3 million in 2008). Available capacity reached to 7.45 billion passenger-kilometres (7.2 billion in 2009 and 7.5 billion in 2008). In total, 27,787 flights were performed, with an average load factor of 68%. On time performance decreased by 3% to 79% due to severe winter weather conditions in Kazakhstan & European countries, reported the press-centre of Air Astana.
The airline’s largest investment was the acquisition of six Airbus 320s, with delivery of the first aircraft in 2012. The total cost of the project is USD268 million. During 2010, the airline expanded it regional network with new services including Almaty – Urumqi, Almaty – Dushanbe, Almaty – Tashkent, Almaty – Saint Petersburg and Astana – Yekaterinburg. An additional Fokker F-50 was added to the fleet, bringing the total to 22 aircraft. The average age of the fleet is seven years.
Air Astana maintains relentless attention to flight safety and maintaining the highest operational standards. In 2010, a training program commenced for engineers aiming at obtaining the EASA Part-66 license. The company already holds certificates to perform maintenance of aircraft under EASA Part-145 EASA standards. In 2011, the airline is planning to open maintenance workshops to repair wheels, batteries and aircraft power units, together with a non destructive test facility. This step will establish Air Astana as the largest maintenance centre in CIS.
Air Astana was recognised for its high passenger service standards in international markets. It was rated third in the Best Airline of Eastern Europe by Skytrax 2010 World Airlines Awards. Air Astana was the only airline from Central Asia and the CIS to be achieve this rating, which demonstrates its leadership across the region. The winners were determined by conducting a survey among 17.9 million travellers from 100 countries of the world.
The next achievement for the airline was its improved rating in corporate governance to Gamma-6 level by Standard & Poor’s. In 2009, the corporate governance was rated at 5 + level. At present the rating conferred by S&P’s on Air Astana is the highest achieved in Kazakhstan. Only one other company (in the oil sector) with securities circulating in the international stock market has achieved the same rating.
Service onboard Air Astana improved as well as corporate governance. Business-class passengers on international flights are now offered KCTV, with a wide range of audio and video programs including the latest movies. And that is not the only new feature! Air Astana has upgraded the seats chairs and toilets in Business class on the Boeing 757. This modification will allow passengers to turn the seat into a lie flat bed with the click of only one button. The same Business class sleeper seat will be introduced on Boeing 767 in 2011. Further service improvements will also be made in economy class during the year.
Air Astana currently has 3,155 employees and is planning to expand its ab-initio pilot training project in 2011. There will also be new services launched from Almaty to Samara and Tbilisi. These flights will be operated by Embraer E-190, which will join the existing fleet in spring 2011.