On 15 May 2002 a Boeing 737 displaying the Air Astana logo completed the first flight from Almaty to Astana. It was the first aircraft of its kind in the republic. This was the birthdate of the new national airline of Kazakhstan even though the decree on the establishment of JSC Air Astana had been signed on 29 August 2001 and the agreement with British BAE Systems PLC was made on 2 September 2001. Following the flight to Astana there were flights to Dubai, Moscow and Beijing. For the first six months Air Astana worked in five domestic destinations. Air Astana invested in the new generation of Western-produced aircraft, offering Western standards of service to its customers.
Today Air Astana is a dynamically developing airline for which safety is a main priority. Fleet of the national air carrier consists of 26 modern western aircrafts that operate on more than 50 domestic and international routes. Within 10 years of existence Air Astana served more than 195 500 flights and transported more than 16.2 million passengers.
Air Astana greatly contributes to the country’s economy. Between 2001 and 2011 the company paid USD 249.9 million in taxes to the state budget of Kazakhstan, showing that Air Astana is a successful state project (initially $ 8.5 million was allocated for its establishment). In addition, the company provides jobs to over 3.500 people. This figure is growing as the airline is still expanding through the introduction of new destinations.