Encouraged by the rapid success of recently opened regional routes, Air Astana will continue to expand its network in Asia.
Chief executive Peter Foster says: "We'll continue to expand in Asia a lot...there'll be more flights to Beijing, more flights to Delhi and we're probably looking at [flying to] Mumbai very soon."
Air Astana will open a route to Hong Kong on 28 August and to Ho Chi Minh City in the middle of December. "The focus is very definitely on south Asia, east Asia and the region," Foster says.
The Kazakh carrier recently started services or increased frequencies to destinations including Tashkent in Uzbekistan, Tbilisi in Georgia, Baku in Azerbaijan and Omsk in Russia.
"We get high load factors almost from the moment we start flying and almost every one of them has been profitable, virtually from the beginning" says Foster. "Generally speaking we expect a route to be profitable in year two, but these are making a positive contribution from day one."
Foster explains these destinations are "tremendously under-served by airline of our style and quality".
Expansion into what he calls Air Astana's "expanded home market" will remain the carrier's principal focus for the near future. Foster says that the strategy has been "rather forced" by the European blacklist on Kazakhstan carriers, a fate Air Astana averted due to an air operator's certificate and oversight provided by the Aruba Department of Civil Aviation.
Foster says the situation "absolutely has to be resolved", adding: "We cannot continue to be in this limbo."
Kazakhstan's civil aviation committee is going to sign a co-operation agreement with the technical bureau of ICAO, according to Foster, who says: "It's unlikely we're going to be given a clean bill of health immediately, but I hope that by the middle of next year we would see an easing of the restrictions."