Air Astana plans to order four Boeing 767-300ERs for delivery in 2013 and three 787-8s for handover in 2017 and 2019.
At a news conference in Kazakhstan’s commercial capital Almaty, airline Chairman Nurzhan Baidauletov said the 787 “will place Air Astana amongst the leading airlines of the world in terms of operating the highest quality, environmentally friendly air services.” He also said Air Astana will require no state or shareholder funds for the purchases, but “will fund the new aircraft through a combination of its own cash and financial instruments through the air finance market.”
Air Astana President Peter Foster says the 767s, equipped with winglets, will replace the airline’s two leased 767-300ERs and eventually its leased Boeing 757s.
The 767-300ER has sufficient range to serve all of Air Astana’s current destinations with no payload restrictions, but the 787’s range will enable the airline to serve the U.S., Australasia and Africa, he adds.
Foster told Aviation Week in May that Air Astana planned to order two Embraer 190s to complement the four E-190s it will be leasing.
Air Astana is Central Asia’s largest carrier. Last year, it posted a $70 million net profit, although that was a 19% decline from 2010’s result. Foster attributes the decline to increased fuel prices. Air Astana is a joint venture between Kazakhstan’s state-owned investment arm Samruk Kazyna (51%) and BAE Systems (49%).
The airline has been operating for nearly 10 years and plans an initial public offering (IPO) on Kazakhstan’s stock exchange. But Foster told Aviation Week in Seoul in October, on the sidelines of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines annual general meeting, that the IPO date had yet to be set because the Kazakhstan government first has to buy BAE Systems’ stake.