Air Astana operations: Challenges and Development plans

Since the beginning of the 2022 summer schedule, the international air transport industry has faced a new set of challenges as passenger traffic strongly recovered.

Since the beginning of the 2022 summer schedule, the international air transport industry has faced a new set of challenges as passenger traffic strongly recovered. During June-July 2022, Air Astana’s passenger traffic was 17% higher than the in the same period last year, whilst seat capacity increased to 30%.

As observed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and other trade bodies, many of the world’s largest airports have been unable to efficiently process the significantly increased volumes of passenger traffic, with the resulting chaos heavily impacting on the operations of international airlines. In an effort to improve the situation, airports including London Heathrow and Amsterdam Schiphol have imposed limits on the volume of passengers that can be handled daily, which has forced many carriers to reduce services/frequencies.

On-time performance (OTP) for European airlines reached 75% between January-May 2022, but dramatically dropped to 57% in June 2022. With Air Astana operating flights to major European hubs, serious service disruptions at these airports heavily affected the airline’s schedule and caused delays in rotations. The operational situation for Air Astana has been made worse domestically due to ongoing runway repair works and in some instances closure of local airports,  as well a heightened cases of bird strikes. Since the beginning of 2022, there have been more than 60 bird strike incidents, 10 of which resulted in aircraft being damaged. The number of bird strikes is more than 20% higher in 2022 than last year.

Technical issues, ground handling, late arrivals and airport restrictions have been the main reasons for Air Astana flight delays this summer. Air Astana OTP has decreased to 74.3% this year compared to 85% in 2021.

“In recent months, the air transport industry has experienced a rapid recovery in passenger traffic combined with unprecedented shortages of staff and resources at many European airports following widespread layoffs and other cost control measures during the health pandemic. This combination has caused serious challenges for the airports and triggered a chain of operational difficulties for airlines around the world. Many Air Astana passengers have experienced delays in their flights, for which we sincerely apologize,” said Peter Foster, President and CEO of Air Astana Group. “The entire Air Astana team is working hard to improve the Group’s OTP, without compromising flight safety. We have reduced frequencies to improve operational flexibility and planning to place more A320 aircraft in reserve to protect the flight schedule. Additionally, we have increased number of staff on duty at the Air Astana Call Center and launched a hotline for delays issues. Passengers affected by delays advised to call +7 7272 44 44 78 from 08:00 to 24:00.”

In case of cancellation or delay of a flight, passengers are advised to use online communication channel Live Chat at or Whats Up chat by phone +7 702 702 01 48. For refunds passengers need to apply to the issuing agency or at Air Astana Help Center at

Hotline in case of delays +7 7272 44 44 78.

Development Plans

Air Astana Group fleet developments during the remainder of this year will see Air Astana take delivery of two more Airbus A321LR aircraft, bringing the total to XX, whilst the LCC division, FlyArystan will add three more Airbus A320neo aircraft, bringing the total fleet up to XX. Air Astana Group added 13 new aircraft between mid-2020 and March 2022, with a further 24 aircraft due to join the fleet by mid 2025. This fleet modernisation process will see some older aircraft being replaced.

Amongst other developments, the Group is planning to expand its in-house maintenance capability beyond the engineering centers in Almaty and Nur-Sultan, with new facilities at regional bases opening in the near future. Flight crew training capability is also destined for development later this year, with the opening of a new training centre costing US$10 million in Nur-Sultan. The training centre will be equipped with a full flight simulator, which will not only improve pilot training efficiency, but also help alleviate the need for expensive training outside Kazakhstan and save up to US$18 million over the next 10 years. These two developments ensure that Air Astana will remain a regional leader in terms of engineering services and crew training.

About Air Astana 

Air Astana commenced its operations in 2002 as a joint venture between Kazakhstan’s national wealth fund, Samruk Kazyna, and BAE Systems, with respective shares of 51% and 49%. The airline is a full-service international and domestic carrier, with its low-cost division, FlyArystan, rapidly growing in regional and domestic markets since launch in 2019. Air Astana Group operates a fleet of 38 aircraft including Airbus A320/A321neo/A321LR family, Boeing 767-300ER and Embraer E190-E2

Air Astana is a nine-time winner of the Skytrax Award as the Best Airline in Central Asia, a three-time winner of the TripAdvisor as the Travellers' Choice Awards and owns 5 stars in the APEX ranking.