Air Astana is estimating financial performance for the combined months of January and February 2021 at its highest level since 2017, after reporting a loss of $94m in 2020. The 2020 figure, the airline’s second-ever annual loss, was the result of total or partial shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which resulted in capacity and revenue falls of 47% and 55% respectively. Total passengers carried fell by 28% to 3.7m.
Commenting on the results, President & CEO Peter Foster stated, ”whilst the devastating effect of the pandemic on international travel needs no elaboration, the airline is resilient. Domestic air travel recovered strongly from May, and our low cost carrier FlyArystan recorded 110% passenger growth. Cargo had a good year, helped by the conversion of a Boeing 767 into an all-freight configuration, and the partially-restored international network, together with new leisure routes, recorded improved yields and load factors in the final weeks of the year. We are seeing these trends continue into 2021, hence the improved outlook for this year.”
In recent months Air Astana has restored some flights to Moscow, Dubai, Tashkent, Frankfurt, Seoul, Bishkek, Kiev, Istanbul, Antalya, and Sharm El Sheikh, in addition to starting flights to The Maldives, Mattala (Sri Lanka) and Hurghada (Egypt). The airline retired its fleets of Boeing 757 and Embraer 190 aircraft in 2020, and now operates exclusively Airbus 321 Long Range and late-model Boeing 767s on its major international routes. The effect, states Foster, is a “significant product upgrade across the network, delivering a high level of service delivery improvement, which we believe will pay off as markets slowly recover.”