As the corona crisis sweeps the globe, much of the focus is on the big name carriers and how they are impacted. But there are hundreds of commercial airlines worldwide and most of them never make the headlines. One of those is Kazakhstan-based Air Astana. Earlier this week, its CEO, Peter Foster, did an extended interview with Forbes Kazakhstan. They asked him how Air Astana was going in the face of the corona crisis. The answer? We’re down but a long way from out.
The powerhouse airline of the ‘Stans
Air Astana is the flag carrier of Kazakhstan. Flying out of Almaty, its fleet of 32 aircraft (a mix of Embraers, single aisle Airbuses, and mid-sized twin aisle Boeings) fly around the region and as far afield as Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The airline has been flying for less than 20 years and is a joint venture between Kazakhstan sovereign wealth fund, Sumruk-Kazyna (51% ownership), and BAE (49%).
Peter Foster has been running Air Astana since 2005. He earned his aviation stripes at John Swire and Sons, starting there as a management trainee. He later worked at Philippine Airlines. Between 2002 and 2005, he was CEO at Royal Brunei Airlines. During his tenure at Air Astana, the airline has both benefited from and contributed to steady overall growth in Kazakhstan.