Air Astana’s big international gain
Announcing its operational results for the first half of 2017, Air Astana recorded 22 per cent increase in international traffic and four per cent increase in domestic traffic.
According to the operations results for the first half of 2017, Air Astana carried a total of 894,391 passengers for the period January-June 2017, of which 1,007,413 were domestic passengers and 886,978 were international passengers. The figures reveal that overall passenger traffic increased by 12 per cent for this period. While passenger growth on domestic routes was 4 per cent, international traffic grew by 22 per cent, which is attributed to the network traffic transiting through its Astana and Almaty hubs, which grew by 62 per cent. Even the Cargo uplift increased by 22 per cent for the same period.
Peter Foster, President and CEO, Air Astana, 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.” He added that cost pressure has increased owing to higher fuel prices in Kazakhstan. “However, the airline’s unit cost remains very competitive and enables us to increase our share of longhaul major market business. This is helped by increased awareness in foreign markets of the quality of our product,” he claimed.
Peter insisted that they are coming up with new offerings as well. “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,” he added.