Air AStana

Kazakhstan’s flagship carrier Air Astana has ordered 15 new planes in a deal worth over $1bn to expand and modernise its fleet.

The airline’s order includes six A320 single-aisle aircraft from Airbus, four Boeing 767 wide-body planes, three Boeing-787 Dreamliners and two Embraer 190 regional jets.

Export agencies in the US and Europe will help finance the purchases, reported Bloomberg citing Air Astana president Peter Foster.

The ordered four Boeing 767-300ER aircraft are scheduled for delivery by 2013/2014, and of the three wide-body Boeing 787-8 aircraft, two aircraft will be delivered in 2017 and one aircraft in 2019.

Air Astana is 51% owned by Kazakh’s Samruk-Kazyna National Welfare Fund and 49% by Britain’s BAE Systems, and it currently provides services to 80% of all the Central Asian state’s domestic and international routes.

Air Astana began operations in 2002 and currently operates a fleet of 26 aircraft, including Boeing 767, Boeing 757, Airbus A319, Airbus A320, Airbus A321, Embraer 190 and Fokker 50 aircraft and has plans to increase its fleet to a total of 34 aircraft by 2014 and 63 aircraft by 2022.

Samruk-Kazyna had said last year that Air Astana had been slated for a people’s Initial Public Offering (IPO) and between 5% and 15% of Air Astana shares may be offered to individual private investors.

Last month, Air Astana took the delivery of the fifth Boeing 757-200 aircraft, which will serve on domestic trunk routes and international services to Asia, Europe and the Gulf.

The airline indicated that it will also continue to expand its new Embraer E-190 fleet in 2012, to gradually replace the six Fokker 50s by the end of 2012.


Image: Air Astana currently operates a fleet of 26 aircraft and serves nearly 50 domestic and international routes. Photo: Nikolay Ustinov.