Monday, February 6, 2012

Air Astana orders 767s and 787s

Posted by- Neelam Mathews
Feb 6, 2012

Air Astana, the national flag carrier of Kazakhstan, has agreed to purchase four Boeing 767-300ER aircraft and three Boeing 787-8 “Dreamliners”, an order worth $1.3 billion at list prices and the largest ever in Kazakhstan’s civil aviation history. The Boeing 767s will be delivered in 2013 and 2014 and the Boeing 787s in 2017 and 2019.

The introduction of the Dreamliner “will place Air Astana amongst the leading airlines of the world in terms of operating the highest quality, environmentally friendly air services”, said the airline’s Chairman, Nurzhan Baidauletov, Managing Director of its majority owner, sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna. Air Astana “will fund the new aircraft through a combination of its own cash and financial instruments through the air finance market, he added.

The new Boeing 767s, equipped with winglets, will replace the two currently leased aircraft of this type and progressively replace its leased Boeing 757s, Air Astana’s President Peter Foster. He added the Boeing 767 had proved capable of operating efficiently on all of Air Astana’s present route network without restrictions. The Boeing 787, with its superior range, will enable the airline to operate routes to the United States, Australasia and Africa..

Air Astana also announced unaudited operating results for 2011. Net profit declined by 19% to US$61.9 million. Capacity grew by 15% and the number of passengers carried grew by 16% to just over 3 million. Revenues grew by 16% to $760 million. According to Foster, the decline in profitability was entirely due to fuel price rises of more than 130% over 2010. Nonetheless, “a net margin of 8.1% is very respectable by industry standards and ahead of our ten year average.”

During the year the airline introduced its first three Embraer 190 regional jets and one additional Boeing 757. It launched new services to Samara in Russia and Tbilisi in Georgia and increased frequencies on most of other routes.

Air Astana is a joint venture between Samruk Kazyna (51%) and BAE Systems PLC (49%).  The airline will mark 10 years of operations in May 2012.

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