Every 18 year-old wants to celebrate their coming of age, but celebrations were rather muted at Kazakhstan’s flag carrier Air Astana last week as it marked 18 years since its first commercial passenger flight. The unprecedented crisis means that survival remains top of the agenda, but the airline and Kazakhstan market are perhaps an example of the resilience required to weather the current difficult trading period.
A strong demand from the energy sector has meant that skeletal operations have continued within Kazakhstan during the coronavirus pandemic as well as some limited international connectivity to support oil worker movement. Now, Air Astana, as joint venture between Kazakhstan's sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna and Great Britain’s BAE Systems, is slowly ramping up its domestic activities to deliver essential connectivity within the country.
Air travel is key in Kazakhstan, the world's largest landlocked country, and the ninth-largest country in the world, with an area of 2,724,900 square kilometres. Air Astana expects to be operating approximately 30% of its pre-crisis network by the end of May.
“The present challenge is immense and we don’t expect some of our markets to improve for many years, however our track record of strong operational performance and financial results will enable us to strengthen our position in both Kazakhstan and the region when the recovery comes, as it will,” says Peter Foster, President and CEO of the Air Astana group.
The airline entered into the current crisis after a “high growth year” in 2019, according to Mr Foster with a net profit of just over USD30 million on revenue of approximately USD900 million. Passenger numbers increased by 17% to over 5 million during the year, including a significant contribution from its recently-launched low-cost airline, FlyArystan, from May-2019.
Mr Foster explains to The Blue Swan Daily that the LCC “transformed” Kazakhstan’s domestic market, doubling its size since its launch and there had been plans to continue its growth in 2020, but these have been brought to “an abrupt halt” by the Covid-19 spread.
AIRPORTS IN THE COUNTRY
SCHEDULE MOVEMENT SUMMARY (w/c 18-May-2020)
ANNUAL CAPACITY (2012 – 2020*)NOTE:*the values for this year are at least partly predictive up to six months and may be subject to change.
WEEKLY DOMESTIC CAPACITY (2017 - 2020*)NOTE:*the values for this year are at least partly predictive up to six months and may be subject to change.
WEEKLY INTERNATIONAL CAPACITY (2017-2020*)NOTE:*the values for this year are at least partly predictive up to six months and may be subject to change.
CAPACITY SPLIT BETWEEN DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS (w/c 18-May-2020)
LARGEST AIRLINES BY CAPACITY (w/c 18-May-2020)
CAPACITY SPLIT BETWEEN LOCAL AND FOREIGN OPERATORS (w/c 18-May-2020)
AIRLINE BUSINESS MODEL CAPACITY SPLIT (w/c 18-May-2020)
DEVELOPMENT OF LCC ACTIVITY IN COUNTRY (2009 - 2019)
ALLIANCE CAPACITY SPLIT (w/c 18-May-2020)
INTERNATIONAL CAPACITY BREAKDOWN BY COUNTRY (w/c 18-May-2020)
DEPARTING SYSTEM SEATS BY CLASS (w/c 18-May-2020)
BUSIEST DOMESTIC MARKETS BY CAPACITY (w/c 18-May-2020)
BUSIEST INTERNATIONAL MARKETS BY CAPACITY (w/c 18-May-2020)
LOCAL AIRLINES’ AIRCRAFT FLEET (as at 18-May-2020)