In 2017, our Board of Directors approved a 10-year Strategic Plan in line with our strategic priorities. OUR STRATEGY DEFINES OUR MISSION, VISION, STRATEGIC GOAL AND STRATEGIC DIRECTIONS FOR DEVELOPMENT, which correspond to the current state and prospects of the aviation industry.
Our new 10-year strategy (2017-2026) is aimed at ushering in a new phase of growth by accelerating expansion while leveraging our low-cost structure and strong position as a hub between Europe and Asia. In an effort to become the leading regional network carrier in Central Asia, we aim to double the size of our fleet over the next decade.
In the long term, the further development of the Company will be accomplished in the context of the following strategic directions:
Increasing the size of our fleet from 32 to 64 aircraft, thus significantly expanding capacity
In 2017, we received our first A321 NEO.
We signed an operating lease for six A320 NEO family aircraft with deliveries in 2019-2020.
Confirming an order for five next-generation Embraer E2 regional jets (operating lease), with deliveries commencing in 2018.
Increase in passenger traffic, including transit traffic (sixth freedom traffic)
Total passenger numbers increased by 12%, or close to half a million passengers, exceeding 4,000,000 annual passengers for the first time.
Our measured in available seat-kilometres (ASKs) grew by 6.9% to 13.59 billion ASKs, mainly due to an increase in international take-offs.
Sixth freedom traffic increased by 58% year-on-year.
The Novosibirsk and Yekaterinburg routes are now served by daily flights.
We increased frequencies on flights to Bangkok, Beijing, Dubai, Istanbul, London, Moscow, Omsk, Seoul, St Petersburg, Tashkent, Tbilisi and Urumqi.
In 2017, we opened three new routes (Astana-Delhi, Astana-Kiev, Oral-Frankfurt), two of which are operated from Astana Airport.
Frequencies have been increased on 25 routes, with the majority from Astana, by 27% in total.
We promoted two major international events—EXPO 2017 and Universiade—that provided the airline with a golden opportunity to stamp its brand not only to on enthusiastic domestic market, but also on a wider, international visiting audience.
The creation of an attractive brand to recruit talented young professionals
We launched our Try on a Dream campaign in 2017 to find, recruit and train applicants from across the country.
Improvement of staff appraisals in order to evaluate and develop employees’ skills
Eight more pilots who started their training during the first Ab Initio programme in 2008 were promoted to captain.
Improvement of corporate culture and the introduction of high professional standards
In line with our policy to develop the skills and knowledge of our employees, we continued to deliver corporate training programmes such as Induction and Orientation and management seminars.
We determined the exact competencies and skills that would be required of Air Astana pilots to match the best international standards.
A new performance assessment process has been established.
We established our corporate Training Academy, which now trains aviation professionals across the board, including pilots, flight attendants, engineers and other civil aviation professionals at a level compliant with EASA standards.
Evolution as the best airline in the region in terms of information technology
We installed Rockwell Collins/Inmarsat GX Aviation systems on our Boeing 767 fleet, designed for in-flight broadband, offering unprecedented speed, reliability and consistency.
IFE streaming modifications for 16 aircraft in 2017, which now makes up to 22 aircraft in total.
Digitalisation of HR processes (including KCApp, a new learning management system, a new electronic database, a performance appraisal system and others).
A mobile boarding pass service was made available for all flights (including international) from our Astana and Almaty hubs.
Development of our distribution technology
In 2017, digital sales grew by 29% compared to 2016 and now account for 12% of total passenger sales network-wide. This increase was the result of a combination of improvements in site usability, advertising, affiliated programmes and customers’ spending habits.
Enhancements were made on many modules of our corporate website, including the Nomad Club.
The sale of preferred seating (MySeat) was implemented across multiple channels, via our ticket offices, check-in desks, online and travel agents.
The frequent flyer system was upgraded to a modern platform offering further improvements to the service.
Kazakhstan’s economy showed encouraging signs of recovery in 2017, driven mainly by better-than-expected performance in the oil sector and supported by a recovery in global oil prices. This, in turn, had a positive impact on the local currency, the tenge, which has been increasing in value since the crisis.
Against this encouraging macroeconomic backdrop, passenger traffic increased by 12% year-on-year in 2017 . We made considerable progress in all our strategic priorities during the year and we began a number of initiatives aimed at reducing costs and increasing operational efficiency across all areas. While growth is expected to continue in 2018, costs, including fuel, airport and other user charges and staff costs, are under pressure. We anticipate that our key challenge in the near future will be controlling costs while simultaneously maintaining quality standards.
In 2017, we continued implementation of a variety of projects aimed at improving the Company’s business processes and cost optimisation.