Kazakhstan’s flag carrier Air Astana is considering joining a global airline grouping, possibly Star Alliance, in order to offer its customers greater loyalty benefits according to its president Peter Foster.
Previously Foster says Air Astana's strategy had been to develop partnerships without restricting itself to joining an alliance.
However speaking to Flightglobal Pro in London he says: “We always took the view that at some point in time, the market would oblige us to offer the frequent flier benefits of alliance membership.” He adds that with the airline’s investiture in its premium product “we are going to need, at some point in time, the ability to leverage that product against frequent flier miles, which we don’t really have at the moment other than for the local market”. Air Astana has its own loyalty programme, known as the Nomad club.
Foster says that Air Astana has naturally been developing “some very strong relationships with members of Star Alliance” including Asiana Airlines, Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines. He says this is a natural process with airlines based in some of its key destinations.
But he adds that Air Astana has a codeshare partnership with SkyTeam carrier KLM and is in discussion with Air France and the French Directorate General for Civil Aviation over co-operation between the two airlines, so were the Kazakhstani-carrier to join an alliance which one “is not clear cut”.