Air Astana reported (29-Jan-2013) a 7% year-on-year decline in unaudited profit after tax to USD57.2 million in 2012, despite a 16% increase in revenue to USD870 million. The carrier also reported a 14% capacity growth during the year. Air Astana president Peter Foster stated the full year result was better than expected after a difficult first half in which profit fell by more than 80%. In the second half of the year, strength of CIS markets, the strong performance of new services to China and Hong Kong, and non-fuel savings have made up most of the difference and offset to some extent higher fuel prices, though margins have fallen. Looking forward, Air Astana expects 2013 to be another mixed year with continued cost pressure, though at present markets remain stable. [more – original PR]
Air Astana's full year boosted by strong second half
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Air Astana Part 1: Kazakhstan flag carrier increases focus on transit traffic as profits drop
Kazakhstan’s Air Astana is increasing its focus on sixth freedom transit traffic as part of a new strategy aimed at capitalising on its low cost structure and geographic position at the crossroads of Asia and Europe. More transit traffic is necessary to unlock a new phase of growth and reduce its reliance on its home market.
Air Astana has nearly doubled its transit traffic over the past year in response to challenging market conditions in Kazakhstan. The Kazakhstan economy has weakened significantly as oil prices have collapsed, leading to rapid currency devaluation that has impacted Air Astana’s top line. The airline’s revenues have fallen 25% since 2013 while passenger traffic has been relatively flat.
Increased sixth freedom traffic, slower expansion and reduced costs have enabled the airline to maintain profitability. A further and bigger transit traffic push is risky but should drive improved scale, a resumption of growth, and a stronger long-term position – which in turn will make Air Astana more attractive as it revisits long-delayed IPO plans.
Alitalia: "everyone has to pull in the same direction" – ongoing issues, and viability is at stake.
After Alitalia’s board approved the second phase of its business plan on 22-Dec-2016, CEO Cramer Ball stressed the importance of achieving the support of its workforce. He said, “Everyone has to pull in the same direction to make Alitalia a viable, sustainable success story and help the airline achieve its ambition of long-term growth and profitability”. Alitalia suffered strike action from some flight crew in 2016.
Full details of the plan, which has received the support of Italy's government, have not yet been made public. Alitalia's network strategy includes further long haul growth and a reworking of its short haul operation, with an emphasis on feeding long haul via Rome and Milan. Other elements of the plan include cost-cutting, reduced headcount and possible changes to joint venture agreements. Details are to be presented to Alitalia’s workforce in Jan-2017.
Also on 22-Dec-2016, Alitalia's shareholders approved short-term funding and gave management 60 days to begin negotiations with key stakeholders - lessors, suppliers and distribution companies, in addition to trade unions. Alitalia needs their support for deep cost reduction measures, in order to win the long-term financing needed to secure the airline's future.