CEO: Air Astana, AeroSvit may form partnership

May 16. Air Transport World

By Kurt Hofmann

CEO: Air Astana, AeroSvit may form partnershipAir Astana President Peter Foster told ATW that Ukraine-based AeroSvit approached Air Astana about forming a possible partnership and will hold talks this month. Foster said the two carriers “have a lot in common,” such as a Boeing fleet, and he believes the network of both carriers would “fit perfectly,” but didn’t provide additional details on the potential deal.

Foster said Kazakhstan-based KC, the leading player in the Central Asian region, will “sooner or later” join an alliance, perhaps Star or oneworld, as part of the carrier’s strategy to expand and operate more flights to Europe. KC’s major hub, Almaty, handles 70% flights and should have a new terminal by 2014, he said.

In 2010, KC launched 10 new routes, started a “dynamic codeshare” with Etihad, and switched ALA-Dubai services to EY’s hub in Abu Dhabi. Regarding international expansion, Foster said the carrier plans to add Hong Kong service, is evaluating flying to Singapore and Shanghai, is increasing its presence in India, and may add new services to Colombo. By 2020, the carrier expects to operate up to 50 aircraft and add destinations such as Milan, Paris, Prague and Munich as well as Japan and China. Foster said the government wants KC to add nonstop service to the US.

For 2010, KC reported a net profit of $88.6 million and transported 2.56 million passengers, up 17% compared to 2009. “We are very happy with an 11.5% margin,” Foster added. KC is a joint venture between Kazakhstan sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna, which holds a 51% share, and BAE Systems, which holds 49%.