Air Astana has reported an unaudited net profit for 2018 of $5.3 million driven by higher revenues but also affected by a more than 25 per cent increase in fuel prices.
Total airline revenue rose by 10 per cent to $840.8 million. Capacity as measured in ASKs rose by five per cent and total passenger numbers by three per cent to 4.3 million.
However, transit business via the airline’s Astana and Almaty hubs rose by 48 per cent, and now represents close to 40 per cent of total international traffic. Operating costs rose by 14 per cent, driven mainly by an average fuel price increase of 27.5 per cent.
Air Astana president and chief executive officer, Peter Foster said: “2018 was a challenging year to due to higher-priced fuel, and pressure on international yields and domestic market share due to competitive capacity increases on key routes.”
Looking forward to 2019, Foster noted a fuel price reduction of 16 per cent from its peak in June 2018, and pointed also to the expected May launch of its low-cost unit, FlyArystan.
He said: “The low-cost airline is a great business opportunity on domestic and shorter regional routes. The travelling public will be delighted by the low fares we have in store, as long as the government facilitates the legislative changes required to enable FlyArystan to launch.”
Air Astana, the national carrier of Kazakhstan, operates flights to over 60 domestic and international routes from hubs in Astana and Almaty utilising a fleet of Boeing 767/757, Airbus A320neo and A321neo and Embraer E190 / E190-E2 aircraft.