Kazakhstan’s principal airline Air Astana has announced a record pre-tax profit of US$96.4 million in 2010, up 59 percent on 2009. Total capacity for the airline has increased by eight percent and the number of passengers carried increased by 13 percent to 2.57 million. In addition, the carrier extended its network by adding new destinations to its route map including St Petersburg and Yekaterinburg in Russia, Dushanbe in Tajikistan and Tashkent in Uzbekistan. “It is hard to imagine how trading conditions could have been better in 2010, with costs for much of the year at post-recession levels but with substantially healthier markets from March onwards,” stated Air Astana president Peter Foster. “We don’t expect conditions to be so benign in 2011. However we will continue to expand our Central Asian network with the introduction of the Embraer 190s in April. We expect to further consolidate our position as the region’s leader in terms of network and service.”During 2010, Air Astana also increased its number of flights to Frankfurt, Istanbul, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Beijing and Urumchi.