Air Astana has recorded a net profit for 2019 of US$30 million, up from US$5.3 million in the previous year.
The flag-carrier of Kazakhstan carried five million passengers last year, an increase of 17 per cent over 2018, with total airline revenue up by six per cent to US$893 million.
Commenting on the results, Peter Foster, chief executive of Air Astana, stated: “Passenger demand improved considerably during the year, driven by a significant increase in charter operations and by increased demand primarily on domestic routes, as a result of the successful launch of our low-cost airline, FlyArystan, in May.
“While yields have been affected by increased competition on international routes, reduced average domestic ticket prices and the lower value of the Kazakh tenge, this was more than offset by increased demand and lower unit cost.”
Unit costs were lower, at 5.5 US cents per available seat kilometre.
Looking forward to 2020, Foster stated: “FlyArystan continues to grow ahead of expectations, and certain structural changes, such as the move to Domodedovo Airport at Moscow in line with the comprehensive S7 codeshare, and replacement of the Boeing 757 fleet by Airbus 321 Long Range aircraft, enable us to be cautiously optimistic.
“However, the impact of the Coronavirus is a significant unknown.”
Air Astana operates to Beijing and Urumchi, both of which will operate with lower frequency in the event that restrictions on outbound group traffic from China remain in place for an extended period.