Air Astana has reported it returned to profit in the first six months of 2019, after posting a loss in the same period last year.
For the period ending 30 June, the Kazakhstan headquartered carrier’s operating profit was $6.8 million, versus a loss of $11.9 million in the same period in 2018.
Total revenue was marginally down at $372.6 million, a decline on the $386.5 million for the same six months last year. EBITDAR increased 49 per cent to $50.0 million, up on the $33.6 million in 2018.
Air Astana flew 2.1 million passengers in the period, a rise of one per cent on the first half of 2018, despite the late delivery of a new aircraft by a manufacturer.
In May, Air Astana launched a low-cost arm FlyArystan and was one of the factors why domestic traffic grew by nine per cent with a strong increase of 20 per cent in the second quarter, reflecting the strong initial performance of FlyArystan.
International transit traffic declined by five per cent due to the temporary suspension of services to India and a reduction in connecting traffic from Turkey and Ukraine, compensated by growth from China to destinations in the CIS.
Air Astana president and CEO, Peter Foster said: “We are pleased to have been able to turn a first half loss in 2018 to a profit in 2019, at a time of general weakness in the industry. Our cost base remains one of the lowest in the world.”
He added the carrier’s combination of “high quality service delivery” and “cost discipline” resulted in a strong improvement in financial results.
“A sizeable share of the group’s total traffic is now being generated by customers who have never previously flown. More than 80,000 FlyArystan tickets priced below KZT 10,000 ($26) have been sold during the peak season, which has contributed to traffic through the hubs in Almaty and Nur-Sultan growing by 30 per cent and doubling from regional cities,” Foster said.
Air Astana’s fleet comprises of 36 Boeing 767/757, Airbus A320/A321 and Embraer E190/E190-E2 aircraft. It took delivery of one Airbus A320neo and two Embraer E190-E2s in the first period.