The Air Astana Management Team
Peter Foster – President & CEO
Peter Foster entered the airline industry immediately after graduating from Cambridge University in 1982, as a management trainee of John Swire and Sons (HK) Ltd, the owners of Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. From 1982-1999 he served in a variety of management and senior management positions with CPA in Hong Kong, Asia, Australia and Europe, and underwent business management training at INSEAD, France. Mr. Foster left Cathay Pacific Airways in 1999 to head up the rehabilitation team of Philippine Airlines Inc. He subsequently served as Chief Executive Officer of Royal Brunei Airlines from 2002 to 2005 prior to his appointment as President of Air Astana. In the 2015 UK New Year’s Honours List Peter Foster was awarded Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his services to British aviation in Kazakhstan.
Alma Aliguzhinova – Senior Vice President Strategic and Commercial Planning
Alma is among the first employees to join Air Astana at its early stage of formation in 2001 before the commencement of commercial operations. Alma initially joined the company as Corporate Development Manager and progressively has been promoted to Corporate Development Director and then Vice President Planning and now Senior Vice President Planning and Commercial. Alma is a Bolashak Alumni graduated with an MBA degree from East Caroline University, USA.
Yerbol Ospanov – Senior Vice President Government, Regulatory Affairs and Security
Yerbol has over 30 years of experience in the aviation industry.
He has had various jobs in different airlines in Kazakhstan. In his early career he worked as a co-pilot, but then advanced and has worked for various firms as a pilot instructor of many different types of aircraft including the Tu-154, Boeing 747, Boeing 757 and Boeing 767.
As well as his position as Senior Vice President in Air Astana, Yerbol serves as a Captain to the Head of the State flights, a position which he has held for many years.
Ibrahim Canliel – Senior Vice President Commercial Group
Ibrahim is one of the earlier employees of Air Astana since 2003 and has served the company in a range of areas. He started his career in the travel industry 25 years ago and has an aviation experience of 20 years. Prior to joining Air Astana, he worked for KLM, briefly in the Middle East and thereafter Almaty in charge of the organisation in Kazakhstan and neighboring countries. He is a board member at EUROBAK serving his third term. Ibrahim received his MBA degree from Boğaziçi University, Istanbul and his undergraduate in Economics from Marmara University.
Gerhard Coetzee – Senior Vice President Corporate Safety and Quality Assurance
Gerhard started his career as an Air Force navigator and is a qualified Accident Investigator with qualifications in (Aviation) Safety Programme management, Crew Resource Management and Flight Procedure Design. He holds a Bachelors degree in Commerce and an Honours degree in Transport Economics from University of South Africa. He has been actively involved in aviation safety management for the past 25 years including as Managing Consultant with BAE Systems.
Anthony Regan – Senior Vice President Operations
Anthony has over 36 years experience in aviation. He was Head of Flight Operations and OPS post holder at Air France/KLM subsidiary Cityjet from 2001 to 2012 where he was responsible for all aspects of Flight and Cabin operations. Prior to that he was a Director at Parc Aviation. His early career was as a pilot with the Irish Air Corps where he held a number of operational appointments including Chief Flying Instructor retiring with the rank of Commandant. He holds a current JAA and FAA Air Transport Pilot Licence. He is a graduate of University College Dublin in Mathematics and Mathematical Physics.
John Wainwright – Senior Vice President Engineering Group
John has over 34 years of aircraft maintenance experience, both in Base and Line maintenance. He was educated in the United Kingdom and trained at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Bedford. After spending almost 20 years working for Britannia Airways, he moved to South East Asia, working for Royal Brunei Airlines in Brunei, Vietnam and Nepal. When he left Brunei to immigrate to Australia, he held the position of Head of Maintenance. John joined Air Astana in 2006 as the Maintenance Manager. He is a holder of an EASA B1 and C category Maintenance Engineers License and is married with three children.
Alima Zamanbekova – Chief Accountant
Alima joined the airline in mid 2003 as Chief Accountant. Prior to joining Air Astana, she held positions of Chief Accountant in the oil industry. Alima graduated from the Institute of Foreign Languages (English faculty) and from Kazakh State Academy of Management, specializing in Accounting and Audit. She is a Certified Accountant and a member of the Chamber of Professional Accountants. Alima is married and has two children.
Michael Mc Donagh – Senior Financial Adviser
Michael has over 40 years of aviation experience, having started his career in Aer Lingus where he held various financial management positions including secondment on overseas airline management contracts mainly in Africa. He left Aer Lingus in 1994 and before Joining Air Astana, he participated in various airline financial management and consultancy projects in Africa, Canada, Caribbean, South America and Eastern Europe. He is a graduate of University College Dublin with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport.
Yevgeniya Ni – Vice President HR and Administration
Yevgeniya is a graduate of Karaganda State University and holds Diplomas in English/French languages and Legal.
She joined Air Astana in October 2002 as Executive Assistant to President of Air Astana. Prior to Air Astana, Yevgeniya worked for four years with Intercontinental Hotel.
Valentina Khegay – Vice President Internal Audit
Valentina joined Air Astana in 2006 having extensive experience in audit, finance and accounting and began her career in audit in 1996. Her previous positions include Chief Accountant, Chief Financial Officer and external Auditor at different companies.
Valentina is Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), Certified Auditor of RK, PhD in Economic sciences, DipPIA of ICFM and Professional Accountant (certificates CIPA and professional accountant).
Ms. Valentina Khegay, Vice President Internal Audit, was appointed as Head of the Internal Audit Service based on the decision of the General Meeting of Stockholders of Air Astana JSC dated 07 December 2007.
Galina Umarova – Vice President Fuel Management
Galina has more than 15 years of experience in the airline industry and prior to joining Air Astana was Director on Finance at Astana International Airport JSC. Galina graduated from Aktobe State University after K. Zhubanov and she holds a Master Degree in Public Administration from KIMEP, Almaty. Galina earned the right to use the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) designation granted internationally by the CFA Institute. Galina holds Financial Risk Manager (FRM®) designation certified by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP).
Aidar Kashkarbayev – Vice President Legal Affairs
Aidar has over 10 years of experience in jurisprudence. He started practicing law in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan in 1993. Prior to joining Air Astana, Aidar has worked for Denton Wilde Sapte law firm and KPMG. He also worked as a manager of the legal department at Karachaganak Petroleum Operating B.V. based in Karachaganak oilfield, Western Kazakhstan. Aidar graduated from Kazakh National University and experienced study placement at Southern Illinois University, USA, under the Visiting scholar programme.
Chamindra Lenawa – Vice President IT and e-Business
Chamindra joined Air Astana in January 2009. He is a professional in airline business and IT, with management experience in three National Carriers. Chamindra holds a Master's Degree in Business Administration (University of Colombo), a Bachelor of Laws Degree (University of London) and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electronic and Telecommunication Engineering (University of Moratuwa). Further, he is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP, PMI - USA) and a Chartered Information Technology Professional (CITP) of British Computer Society. Chamindra holds certifications in different IT domains and is a professional in airline reservations, ticketing, departure control systems and business operations.
Bella Tormysheva – Vice President Corporate Communications
Bella has over 10 years of experience in Public Relations, Information and Culture areas. Before joining Air Astana, she worked for the Delegation of the European Commission covering the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and the Republic of Tajikistan. She holds a Master's Degree in International Relations. Bella has attended numerous trainings abroad.
Dilyara Kunkhozhayeva – Vice President Procurement
Dilyara joined the airline in early 2006 as Financial Analyst. She holds a Bachelor and a Master degree in Business Administration and Accounting from KIMEP (Almaty) with major in management and finance. After graduation she worked at Ernst & Young and KIMEP in Almaty. Since 2008 Dilyara has held a position of Head of Management Accounts. She was appointed as Director Procurement of Air Astana in June 2012.
Mergali Alzhanov – Vice President Flight Operations
He has more than 30 years of experience in the aviation industry. His career in aviation began at Institute of civil aviation engineers of Riga, and then educated in Aktobe top civil aviation flight school, flew as a pilot of the Yak-40 in Kokshetau, then transferred to Almaty squadron. He flew as the commander of the aircraft and private pilot instructor on the Tu-154 and A-310. Mergali joined Air Astana in 2004 as captain on the Boeing 757 aircraft. He is married with two daughters and a son.
Aiman Tileubayeva – Vice President Network and Revenue Management
Aiman joined Air Astana in November 2003 as the Commercial Planning Manager, where she was responsible for the schedule and network planning. Prior to joining Air Astana, Aiman worked in Air Kazakhstan airline for five years. Aiman graduated from the Kazakh National University has PhD in Applied Mathematics.
Aiman was appointed Air Astana’s Director Network and Revenue Management in February 2009. Since January 2013 she holds a position of Vice President Network and Revenue Management.
Aizhan Omar – Vice President Management Accounts and Risk Management
Aizhan is a graduate of Taraz State University named after M. Kh. Dulaty and holds Diploma in International Economic Relations, also she holds a Master degree in Business Administration from KIMEP (Almaty) with major in management and finance. She joined Air Astana in August 2006 as Financial Analyst. From June 2012 to January 2014 she was a Head of Management Accounts.
Russel Ellis – Vice President Operations Control
Russel has more than 29 years of aviation experience and has held several senior management positions in airlines in South Africa and the Middle East before joining Air Astana in 2007. His early experience was in the military where he qualified as a Navigator and Instructor. He holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the University of Liverpool, UK. He is responsible for the day-to-day operational control of the airline and the emergency response readiness.
Richard Ledger – Vice President Marketing and Sales
Richard joined Air Astana in March 2006 as the Regional General Manager EU, USA & Canada, based in London, where he was primarily responsible for the creation of a sales network throughout the region. Prior to joining Air Astana, Richard worked in corporate sales for Singapore Airlines in London for five years before becoming Sales & Marketing Manager UK at Royal Brunei Airlines in January 2005. Richard started his travel industry career in 1993 after graduating from Lancaster University with a Master of Arts (MA) in Travel and Tourism, and from the University of London (UCL) with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Geography. Richard relocated to Almaty in February 2009 assuming the position of Director Sales Worldwide. Richard was promoted to Vice President Worldwide Sales in January 2014; and subsequently, he was promoted to Vice President Marketing & Sales in January 2017.
Margaret Phelan – Vice President In-Flight Service Delivery
Margaret has over 17 years’ experience in the aviation industry. Educated in the College of Commerce Ireland, Margaret held the positions of Head of Cabin Crew Training & Standards and Head of Cabin Services whilst at the Air France/KLM subsidiary CityJet from 1995-2012. Margaret has also completed a number of EU OPS, management and instructor training courses. She is married with 2 children.
Alexandr Neboga - Vice President Ground Services
Alexandr graduated from Eurasian National University with a degree in International Relations and started his career at Air Astana in 2005 working as a ground handling agent in the Ground Services department. During his career at the airline up to 2010 Alexandr has held various positions with high level of responsibility, and he has held management positions from 2010. Alexandr managed airline’s branch at the Almaty airport since 2013. He also completed Management Training Program at Cranfield University, United Kingdom. He was appointed as Director Ground Services in January 2016, and was promoted to Vice President Ground Services in January 2017. He is married with two children.
Grigoriy Zyryanov – Director Commercial Engineering
Grigoriy entered the airline industry immediately after graduating from Civil Aviation Academy of the Republic of Kazakhstan in 2001, as a Senior Engineer-Technologist in Aircraft Repair Plant #405. He subsequently served as Deputy Chief of Production Planning and Control Department of Air Kazakhstan prior to his appointment as Maintenance Program Engineer in Maintenance Planning Department of Air Astana in 2004. Further, he was promoted to Maintenance Planning Manager. In 2010, Grigoriy was responsible for launching Base Maintenance Team in Air Astana and getting certifications of workshops by EASA, which was achieved in April 2011. He was appointed Director Commercial Engineering in April 2012 moving to Commercial Engineering Department to deal with technical aspects of fleet management.
Azamat Ospanov – Director Engineering Finance and Materials Management
Azamat obtained his educational background in economy, accounting and audit in Suleyman Demirel University. He started his professional career with Ernst and Young and has become an experienced audit manager with KPMG. Azamat joined Finance Department of Air Astana in April 2009. Being senior manager finance he was head of airline specific revenue accounting and was responsible for banking and treasury functions. In January 2013 he joined Engineering and Maintenance department as Director Engineering Finance and Material Management and is currently responsible for a wide range of functions including finance, sales, warranty recoveries, material management, logistics and customs clearance.
Timur Yakupov – Director National Development
Timur is an aeronautical engineer with more than 20 years of experience. Having a classic aviation education in former Soviet Union, Timur began his career as a mechanic for aerobatic aircraft. He served in the army as an infantry weapons specialist in Military Transport Aviation. He continued his career in Kazakhstan in the role of a technician on TU-154, and further mastered the maintenance of the main types of passenger and cargo aircraft of the former Soviet Union. Timur works at Air Astana from the very first day, and started as a Shift Supervisor. Timur is a holder of an engineering license and can serve more than 11 types of aircraft and their modifications. He is married with three daughters.
Des Senior – Director Engineering
Des has worked in aviation for his entire 40 year career. Graduating in Engineering from Bath University he joined Rolls-Royce, where he worked on the development of the RB199 engine at its entry into service. After 10 years in this career he studied for an MBA at City University (London) which took him into the field of civil aviation. Since then he has managed several aviation repair facilities and most recently been responsible for the continuing airworthiness of VIP aircraft with Harrods Aviation and the large charter fleet of Thomson Airways. Des is married with two children and in his spare time enjoys riding and restoring classic motorbikes.
Marat Sekerbekov – Director Flight Operations Support
Marat has been in aviation industry for more than 30 years with various Kazakhstani and international airlines. His aviation career started after graduating from Kirovograd Flight Academy of National Aviation University of Ukraine. Marat started his way with Aeroflot, USSR. In 1994 he came to Kazakhstani airline industry.
In 2005, Marat joined Air Astana as a co-pilot of Fokker 50 fleet and passed all levels of flight operations management team from co-pilot to chief pilot.
Adriaan Jan Meijer – Director of Standards
Adriaan commenced his career as a pilot in KLM Cityhopper in 1978, initially as a First Officer on the DC-9 and later as a Capt on the Fokker 50. Subsequently he became a training Captain and standardization officer and then progressed to Chief Pilot. He moved to the Boeing Fleet with KLM and flew the Boeing 767 as a Training Captain. On retiring from KLM he joined Dutchbird, who operated B757 and A320 aircraft, as Director of Operations, where he implemented ETOPS and CATIIIB operations in addition to acting as the JAR EU Operations postholder for operations. Apart from his wide ranging training, operational and standards experience he also worked with IATA as Deputy Director Flight Operations and Head of Safety and was a member of the ICAO panel who implemented the ICAO fuel SARP and Extended Diversion Time Operations (EDTO). Adriaan is also a medical doctor.
Filippos Siakkas – Director of Operational Training
Prior to joining Air Astana, Filippos was a Training Postholder at Olympic Air, responsible for managing all activities related to crew initial and recurrent training and for the integration of cadet pilots into the company. He has also held a number of management positions in the area of Flight Operations Support including the Director of Flight Standards.
Filippos started his career in 1989 by joining Olympic Airways as a First Officer. During his career as a pilot he has flown B737, A300 B4, A300-600 as a First Officer and B737, A320 as a Captain before progressing to pilots Instructor and Examiner.
He is married with two children.
Aigul Omurzakova - Director Business Planning and Fleet Portfolio
Aigul joined the airline in 2004 as Junior Revenue Accountant. In 2005 Aigul has held a position of Deputy Head of Revenue Accounts. She holds a Bachelor degree in Business Administration and Accounting from KIMEP (Almaty) with major in accounting and management, as well as MBA in Aerospace management from Toulouse Business School. She was appointed as Director Business Planning and Fleet Portfolio of Air Astana in January 2014.
Rafael Taizhanov – Director Commercial Planning
Rafael is one of the first employees who joined to Air Astana at its early stage of the development. Career in aviation began with the schedule department of Air Kazakhstan in 1998. Rafael graduated with distinction from the Physics Department of the Kazakh State University. He holds SMART MBA Diploma of the corporate university "Samruk-Kazyna" and IATA Diploma on Sales and Marketing. He was appointed as Director Commercial Planning of Air Astana in 2014.
Serik Rys-uly – Director Sales CIS
Serik has been working in Air Astana for more than 5 years: in 2009 he joined the sales department team in Kazakhstan. After the route Almaty-Tashkent was open in 2010 he became the head of the representative office of the company in Uzbekistan. From 2013 to 2014 Serik was the head of sales department in Russian Federation.
Before Serik joined Air Astana airlines he had been filling strategic positions in Talgo Kazakhstan railway company and Prime Aviation airlines. He graduated from Kazakh State Administration Academy with “International Economic Relations” specialization.
Janar Jailauova – Director Sales Kazakhstan and Central Asia
Zhanar began her career in the airline in May 2006 as a sales specialist for the EU, US and Canada. As a certified English translator with a degree from the Eurasian National University, she continued her education from 2004 to 2005 and took special tourism courses at the London Academy of Professional Training. From 2006 to 2013, she held various management positions in the company's representative offices in the UK and UAE, including sales manager for Kazakhstan and Central Asia, regional general manager for the Middle East and India, and director of the booking and sales department. In 2014, she was appointed Sales Director for Asia. Zhanar has an IATA diploma in revenue management. She is married and has a son.
Zhanar Bimendina – Director Human Resources
Zhanar joined Air Astana as Procurement Specialist in 2003 with previous experience in HR of Intercontinental Hotel. In 2005 she moved to HR department as Senior HR Adviser. She holds Diplomas in English language, Finance and Legal. In 2012 she obtained IATA Diploma in Human Capital Management.
Igor Segedin – Chief Pilot
Igor has an extensive experience in aviation. On graduation from Aktobe high civil aviation school in 1991 with honors, he was assigned as a First officer of Tupolev 134 in Almaty flight division. He joined "Air Astana" in 2002 initially as a First officer, then he flew as a Captain and a flight instructor of Boeing 737NG. In 2006 after successful type rating training on Airbus he was assigned as a chief instructor of Airbus 320 fleet where he has been closely involved in the development and establishment of this new for company fleet. After 11 years with Air Astana, Igor passed the way from a First officer to position of a senior manager of flight training. In 2013 he was appointed to the position of Chief Pilot.
Yerbolat Baisalykov – Director Revenue Management
Yerbolat started his career with the airline in June 2004 as a flight attendant. In 2005, after graduation from the L.N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University, he continued his work as a revenue management analyst. In 2006-2008, he received a degree in Economics from the Karaganda Economic University. While working with the company from 2005 to 2011, Yerbolat held various positions in Revenue Management Department. From 2011 to 2014, he headed the airline's representative office in the Republic of Azerbaijan. In September 2014, he was appointed manager of Revenue Management Department. Since January 2016, he is the Director Revenue Management. Yerbolat holds a Master’s degree in aviation business administration from Toulouse Business School.
Roman Bogdashkin – Director Enterprise Applications and e-Business
Roman has graduated from Kazakh National Technical University and he is an Information Technology professional with many years of experience. He joined the airline in 2010 and has participated in major projects for development and implementation of specialized software that is used by the airline, and for projects of developing the e-Business. Roman is a certified professional in various fields such as Project Management, ERP Systems, Software Development, and Database Management. He was appointed as Director Enterprise Applications and e-Business in January 2016.
Yelena Obukhova – Director In-Flight Product
Yelena is one of the first employees to join Air Astana at its early stage of formation in 2001 before the commencement of commercial operations.
Yelena started her career as a Ground Handling Agent in the Ground Services department and later she was promoted to a Manager on Duty Passenger Services at Almaty airport, then to Manager Ground Services where she managed all airports where airline operated. In 2010 she moved to the In-Flight Services Department, taking the position of Associate Director of In-Flight Services Department. At the moment she holds the position of Director In-Flight Product. Yelena graduated from Karaganda State University with the teacher and interpreter of English/German languages degree; she has also passed a number of IATA courses. Yelena is married and has a daughter.