Air Astana Releases 2023 Annual Results

ASTANA – Kazakh national carrier Air Astana observed strong growth amid volatile market conditions with a total revenue increase of 13.8% last year, according to the company’s report featuring its full-year results.

Photo credit: Air Astana.

“In 2023, the company made progress in its strategy to deliver profitable growth in its domestic, near-home and international markets. It capitalized on an underserved domestic market in Kazakhstan and increased air travel connectivity to neighboring territories and abroad,” reads the report. 

Domestic and international market shares

According to Air Astana CEO Peter Foster, the company’s extended home market of Central Asia and the Caucasus remains a leading growth opportunity, characterized by low penetration for air travel and the company’s strong market position.

Within the domestic Kazakhstan market, the company’s share was 67% at 9.3 million seats. Since its launch in 2019, the low-cost airline FlyArystan has grown its share of the domestic market from 12% to 37%, highlighting the popularity of FlyArystan’s affordable airfares in its home market and its role in making low-cost travel attainable for the Kazakhstan population. 

However, Kazakhstan’s market continues to be underserved, with a low propensity to travel that creates significant untapped growth opportunities. Air travel penetration in Kazakhstan remains approximately half the level of comparable emerging economies such as Türkiye and Malaysia, and even lower in the region.

Leveraging its leading position connecting the Central Asia region with the rest of the world and the continued liberalization of air travel, Air Astana reached a 45% market share on international routes from Kazakhstan in 2023. 

The company’s international passenger base has evolved significantly with Air Astana and FlyArystan exiting the Russian and Ukrainian markets, which led to network expansion to other international destinations, such as Türkiye, Georgia, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Thailand, Greece, and Montenegro, among other destinations.

Fleet and network expansion

The company expects to report further growth in 2024, underpinned by increased capacity and fleet expansion with a net addition of seven aircraft, increasing the total fleet to 49 from 43 at 2023 year-end, flying to 43 destinations on 91 routes. 

“This number has risen to 50 post-period end and will increase to at least 56 fleets by the end of 2024,” said Foster. 

According to the report, the company operates more routes and serves more destinations than any other airline in Kazakhstan, Central Asia and the Caucasus. 

The dominant market position extended in 2023 with the introduction of new routes to important destinations in Asia. Air Astana introduced four new routes to Jeddah, Doha and Tel Aviv (suspended) and reinstated flights to Beijing in China. Meanwhile, FlyArystan launched routes to Delhi, Doha, Tashkent and Urumchi and seasonal routes from regions to Antalya and Dubai.

Commitment to operational excellence and safety

The company remains focused on delivering operational excellence to maintain its fleet of aircraft with rigorous safety standards and providing advanced training to its pilot and cabin crew staff.

In September 2023, the company commissioned its new Flight Training Center in Astana, demonstrating its commitment to maintaining high standards of pilot performance. In addition to pilot training, the company invested in training facilities for cabin crew, including a Cabin Emergency Evacuation Trainer and a Real Fire Fighting Trainer required for mandatory recurring training.

Fuel efficiency with the highest sustainability standards

The company remains at the forefront of environmental initiatives, with one of the youngest fleets in the industry and continuous efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. In 2023, the company’s CO2 emission per revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) dropped to 0.076, demonstrating a consistent decrease since 2015.

A ten-year Low-Carbon Development Program was developed in 2023, which has set goals for the company’s reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and is consistent with Kazakhstan’s goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. 

Award-winning customer service and employee engagement

In 2023, Air Astana was recognized as the Best Airline in Central Asia and Commonwealth of Independent States for the 11th time in a row at the Skytrax World Airline Awards and received a five-star rating in the major airline category by the APEX. 

FlyArystan was awarded the Skytrax Award for best low-cost carrier in Central Asia and CIS for the first time and is one of the 12 Skytrax 4-Star airlines globally. Air Astana is listed on the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange, Astana International Exchange and London Stock Exchange. 

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