Does Air Astana Have Room For The Boeing 767 And 787?

Air Astana is currently operating the world’s three youngest passenger Boeing 767 aircraft. However, it has an outstanding order for three Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. With the airline presently looking at 2025 for the delivery of its Boeing 787 aircraft, what will come of the airline’s relatively young 767 fleet?

Air Astana, Boeing 767, Boeing 787
Does Air Astana have a place for the Boeing 767 and 787 in its fleet? Photo: Boeing

Airline fleets are constantly evolving. Some fleets change anticipating different needs in the future, such as the launch of a dedicated freight subsidiary, while other orders may simply be about replacing older aircraft. Typically, many small sub fleets are frowned upon by airlines, which creates the interesting question of what will happen to Air Astana’s Boeing 767s once its Boeing 787s arrive.

Two fleets are ‘highly inefficient’

Earlier this week, Simple Flying caught up with the CEO of Air Astana, Peter Foster, and asked what the long-term plan for the Boeing 767 is. While not entirely sure, Foster revealed that it would not be efficient to run a fleet of three Boeing 767s alongside three Boeing 787s. He commented,

“That would not be efficient. There are no cross-qualifications of pilots between 767s and 787s so you’d have to have two completely different [crews]. There are no engineering synergies. The 767 is powered by PW4000 engines which are not an option on the 787.”

Air Astana, Domestic Demand, COVID-19
According to the airline’s CEO, two small fleets would be highly inefficient. Photo: Air Astana

Finance leases paid off

Air Astana should have largely paid off the finance leases for its Boeing 767 fleet by 2025, which means there would be no financial need to keep flying the aircraft they would have been paid off.

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Foster suggested that the aircraft could be converted permanently to freighters. For 15 months, one of the jets underwent a temporary freight conversion but is now being converted back to passenger use. The issue with this option is that it is unclear what the freight market will look like in 2025.

Read more: Air Astana Is Giving ‘Serious Thought’ To Dedicated Freighter Aircraft

Another option on the table is selling the aircraft. They would likely then be converted to cargo aircraft anyway. On this point, Foster told Simple Flying,

“I think it’s more likely that we will sell these aircraft at that time, but we haven’t ruled out the possibility of converting them and operating them as freighters.”

Air Astana, Boeing 767, Freighters
Air Astana is putting serious thought into a fleet of dedicated freighters. Photo: Air Astana

The Air Astana Boeing 767 fleet

As mentioned above, Air Astana is the operator of the world’s three youngest passenger Boeing 767s, with the aircraft in high demand for the airline’s route network. According to data from ch-aviation.com, the aircraft are aged between 7.25 and 7.98 years, meaning that they will be roughly 11 to 12 years old when the Boeing 787 fleet is currently expected to be delivered.

What do you think Air Astana should do with its Boeing 767 fleet? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!

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