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Air Astana posts $6.6m loss as passenger numbers fall

Air Astana aircraft

Air Astana has posted a loss of $6.6 million for the first half of 2016, citing “extremely challenging” economic conditions.

The Kazakhstan national airline saw operating profit fall by 30 per cent to $275 million compared to the same period in 2015, driven by a significant devaluation of the Kazakh Tenge.

It also blamed weaker regional travel markets in the wake of commodity price falls.

“The macro-economic environment has been and continues to be extremely challenging for all airlines operating in the region,” said Peter Foster, Air Astana president and CEO.

“However we have been able to compensate to a large extent for a steep drop in revenue, particularly on domestic routes, by further reducing unit cost and by substantially increasing international transit traffic between Europe and Asia.

“The interim result is therefore better than expected under the circumstances. Prospects for the rest of the year remain uncertain, however there are signs that regional economies are adjusting to structurally lower commodity prices.

“Further development of transit business over our Astana and Almaty hubs continues to be a priority,” said Foster.

Air Astana recently launched flights between Almaty and Tehran, and will take delivery of its first Airbus 320 NEO later this year. 

The airline is a joint venture between Kazakhstan’s national wealth fund, Samruk Kazyna, and BAE Systems from the UK, with respective shares of 51 per cent and 49 per cent. 

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