Success stories 

 

In-Flight Services Department

 

Ainura Mussylmankulova

Safety Trainer, In-Flight Service Department

I started working at the company when I was 20. In my 12 years with Air Astana, I've become more sociable and independent, I've learned how to make decisions, and challenges no longer baffle me. The bonuses, employee benefits and other incentives are important of course, but the fact that I've become a professional here and developed a strong personality are more valuable to me.

How can I describe the environment at work? It's easier just to experience it. There are difficulties, but I always know that my colleagues will support me and help me deal with them.

For a number of years we've been named the best airline in Central Asia and India and have a 4-star rating. Each department, including the In-flight Service Department, makes its own contribution. My contribution is related to flight safety, not service. Service is a good thing, but safety is even more important. I think my contribution to the company's success is my work as a trainer in emergency and safety equipment and procedures.

I met my best friends here; nearly all of them once worked as flight attendants and achieved success in the company. I can't imagine working anywhere else today. The sky is addicting in its own way: once you've experienced the beauty of flying, it draws you back again and again. I started working for the company purely by chance, when a friend inspired me to follow her example and send in a resume. The next day, we went to the company's office; then there was an interview, physical evaluation board, and I took off for Istanbul for two weeks of training. That's how I started my career with Air Astana.


Svetlana Berdikozhayeva

Standards and Quality Manager, In-Flight Service Department

The job has also influenced my habits. Today I'm definitely a more punctual and disciplined person. Aviation has become like a lifestyle for me. What do I like about Air Astana? The company's concern for safety, service and passenger comfort, which are closely related to my work. My job is to make sure that the standards and quality of in-flight service are constantly improving.

I finished university in 2002 and became an English instructor. I worked as a teacher, translator and waitress. When friends told me that a new airline was opening, I immediately sent in a resume. That's how I became a flight attendant. I've been with the company for 13 years now, since Air Astana opened. I know that not everyone likes to work in the same place for a long time, but I'm comfortable here, because the company is growing quickly. I can put my talents to work here, and convey to others my willingness to work, and appreciate what I do.

Through mutual understanding, respect and cooperation, we've been able to create a united team. But without favoritism. We build professional relationships and maintain ethical communication with colleagues. I can count on my coworkers and get help and positive energy from them.

During one of my flights, a flock of geese hit one of the plane's engines. We flew for nearly three hours on one engine, burning up fuel. A passenger came up to me and shouted that he and the group of employees with him were late for their connecting flight, "and we're circling around in one place, even though we could have already flown to Amsterdam", that they were hungry, and so on, the scandal was imminent. I had to distract him with conversation, ask him to take his seat, offer a drink and sandwiches, which I did. That's how I managed to resolve the tense situation and calm the passenger. At the end of the flight, he apologized and thanked us all.

I have a large family, and I really love and appreciate each of my relatives. We're very tight, and we always celebrate every holiday together. I enjoy handicrafts, and I'm also keen on horseback riding and skiing.


Yelena Obukhova

Director Inflight Product, In-Flight Service Department

The company has achieved first-rate service in a short time, and both the passenger service departments and the departments that helped us reach this level have four Skytrax medals to show for it.

When the number of employees in our department reached a thousand, it became obvious that we had to change its structure for more effective management. It had to measure up to the world's best practices and allow for the company's growth. Together with the department director, we developed and implemented this project, which was more focused on relations with flight attendants. This ultimately helped us improve the level of service.

I'm always interested in getting involved in developing a new product, whether it's travel kits for passengers, gifts for our little passengers or choosing seats and floor coverings for new airplanes. During the work, I have to meet and communicate with many people so that passengers will like the results.

I graduated from the Department of Foreign Languages at Karaganda State University, taught English at a university, and then chose a career in services and found a job in a hotel. This helped me improve my fluency in English and my communication skills. I continued at Air Astana. I started working here 13 years ago, when the company opened. During this time, I've tried my hand in a variety of positions: I was involved in administration, and worked in the ground service and then the in-flight service departments. I grew and advanced along with the company. This answers the question of why I like working here. The atmosphere is also worth a lot – it's open and friendly, and colleagues respect one another.

My family and I love to travel and discover new places, and my company gives us this opportunity. A lot of my husband's and daughter's interests have become our common interests; for example, on weekends when the weather allows, we drive to the race track, where my daughter practices dressage.


Damir Turganov

Manager
Department of Flight Attendant Training, Promotion and Recruitment

First of all, I think that our company has won four SkyTrax awards for its employees' attitude towards their work. Nearly all of them are really keen about their work and contribute to making Kazakhstan's aviation industry more efficient, more comfortable and safer. Collective has a big importance for me: they always understand and always offer support.

We train flight attendants in conditions as close as possible to the real thing. The classrooms are set up like the inside of a plane, and we use actual equipment and implements. By the end of initial training, a flight attendant knows all aspects of passenger service, right down to the smallest details. We invite employees of other departments to act as passengers during exams.

I've grown together with Air Astana. A lot of my colleagues came to the airline at the same time I did, and many of them are my friends. We have friendly, caring relations with each other in our department. We celebrate birthdays, and in summer we go on picnics, sing songs and play games.

When I was a flight attendant, I served a lot of people who discovered and developed oil fields, invested in Kazakhstan's economy and built relationships with other countries. After I'd worked for several years, people started telling me that I'd changed, that I was more independent and understood people better and had a way with them. My outlook on life as a whole also changed.

I came to Almaty from a village and entered the Department of Physics and Mathematics at Almaty State University. I worked at a hotel during my student years. At a certain point, I wanted a change, but I still wanted to get satisfaction from working with people. I found this at Air Astana. And quite honestly, the reality has surpassed all my expectations. I've worked here for 12 years. I'm even trying to raise my two children in the spirit of the company's values.


Sergey Orlov

CRM Instructor
Crew Learning and Development, In-Flight Service Department

I got into "Air Astana" in 2006, when I had come for "Doors open day" with my CV. Being a second year student of the Academy of Civil Aviation, I knew I wanted to engage myself in aviation, I was attending English courses and wanted to work in a prestigious company. By the way, I was "lured" to this event by my fellow student. I was going to look for a job a bit later...

That day it seemed to me that half a town gathered to get a job in "Air Astana". My first interview, I was worrying way too much... Halfway I asked the guys waiting in line what was the English for "worry". They said "worry", and I came in. The interview had several stages. Tasks, questions, waiting and the first day was over. I was invited for the second day. Without completely believing in my luck, early in the morning I was already waiting for my turn. The last task, a game... There were far less people. I understood that everything was going smoothly, but it was hard to believe that this was happening to me.

The next day I was going by bus to my courses, when my phone rang and I was informed that I had passed successfully. I got off the bus on rubbery legs.

My dream came true. Planes are in my life, probably forever. In "Air Astana" I have built a career from a simple flight attendant to a Crew Resource Management Instructor, and I am sure that this is not the limit. I like what I do. Every day I work with pleasure, in a great team, my profession is far from routine - flights, different countries, new interesting people and continuous development. 9 years went by, but I have not had a single day when I regretted my choice.

P.S. I still vividly remember that back then I paid attention to how stylishly recruiters were dressed, and I had an idea that these people obviously dress up abroad)))


Aliya Albatyrova

On-board Coach
Quality & Standards, In-flight Service Department

"Back in 2006, being equally far from the aviation, I worked as a sports psychologist in a school of high sports mastery. My salary at that time was about thirteen thousand tenge. I knew perfectly well that I have to change something in my life! I want to be different. I want to be successful, happy, I want to live a full and colorful life, I want to travel, to open and expand new horizons for myself and my son! And I decided to change my shaky sad position for desirable bright and confident life. I chose six companies where (as I thought) I would be able to fulfill my potential. Once in an autumn sunny Saturday morning I printed exactly six CVs out and submitted them for consideration to five companies. The office of the last sixth company that I have chosen was closed. I wanted to get there most of all. But on Saturdays they are closed! Having sadly released the handle of the beautiful closed door, I headed back home, comforting myself with the thought that on Monday I would definitely bring them my CV.

I knew nothing about "Air Astana"...

I returned home by bus. In the bus I heard the radio. It was very loud. So loud, that it disturbed me from thinking and making simple plans for ordinary tomorrow. Irritation and annoyance inside me were growing: "Why on earth are they closed on Saturdays?! And why is it so loud?!". And suddenly the loud radio shouted "The Sky is looking for professionals! Come on N. date at N. time to N. hotel!"

There was "Open House Day" in Karaganda. And by chance it was the same day, the same time and the next stop near that hotel. And I had the CV in my bag! Intuitively I got off the bus at that stop. Having entered by the hotel door and plunged in its luxury magnificent interior, where royal lilies struck the eye here and there, I caught myself thinking: "It must be great to live here! What do you need to become in order to live in this hotel at least from time to time? 

I want it so much!"
I gingerly walked up to a cute girl at the table, held out my CV and said: "I work as a psychologist. Do you happen to need a psychologist? Can I help you in staff recruitment?". The cute girl smiled and shook her head.
- Well. Okay. Thank you.
I was about to turn towards the exit... But the girl's voice stopped me: "You know, with your appearance you really fit the position of a flight attendant".
- Oh! But I don't even know what it is. And do I really need it? I don't even know if I want it.
- Try it. Or did you come for nothing? Take your ticket and go through that door for interview.
Behind the solid wood door painted with golden pattern I was greeted by a warm handshake of a man with kind eyes and a disarming smile, so I felt perfectly safe. I felt at home. He greeted me in English and I, showing him my politeness, replied in his language. I saw people at round tables, all of them were talking about something serious. I was sure that it was not my turn yet, so I was preparing mentally choosing a kinder recruiter. Meanwhile I was chatting with my foreign partner on various topics. I thought he was just kindly entertaining me so that I don't have time to get scared before 'serious' interview. But to my great surprise he said: "You have passed the interview. Go up to the first floor and take a test of the English language!"
The test consisted of ten questions with three possible answers. As the level of my English was quite low, already in the first question I came across unfamiliar words and, mentally gave up 'I'm not going to be a flight attendant!', hastily marked random answers of the next questions, without even reading them. In order to avoid shameful incrimination, I turned the sheet over and wanted to make myself scarce, but the beautiful girl stopped me: "Wait a minute. I will check". I blushed while waiting for my crushing defeat and called myself 'adventurer', when suddenly the girl marked nine answers with 'plus' and only one with 'minus'. I guessed nine out of ten!
I think it would be superfluous to overwhelm my story with description of the following stages, as the Sky has already chosen me. The Sky needed me.

I knew nothing about "Air Astana"... But I had to fly...
I fly! I love! And I'm loved by the Sky!"
Have a safe flight!


Assel Kalykova

In-flight Supervisor
Crew Performance Almaty, In-flight Service Department

It was 2006... Spring, I can vividly remember...
Early in the morning my mother, as usual, began to shake the car keys in front of my face and ask, no, even force me to take my little sister to the college. I can remember that my day went wrong, I thought so back then) But what can I do, I had to get behind a wheel.
I terribly wanted to sleep... The yard around me was waking up with its eternal "merry milkmen" shouting in the morning "Miiilk, sour creeeeam..." etc, that makes me believe that the morning is not good at all, especially when it's so early. 

All the way my sister wouldn't stop talking, enthusiastically describing me an invitation to the casting, which she had received the previous day from some company.
I didn't care at all, but as the Good Soldier Svejk, I was nodding in solidarity and driving to music by Black Eyed Peas...”shut up, just shut up, shut up"...)
At one point Leila, that's the name of my sister, began to beg me to take her to the casting and support her there...As she said: "You're a sociable weasel and I am a mope. You will coming with me, ask everything, and then it will be easier for me to take steps".
To say that I didn't like this idea means to say nothing. But her eyes in that moment reminded me of the eyes of a lonely puppy, forgotten in a big world, so I agreed... 

At 16:45 we parked near a huge, pretentious hotel, where the casting of a "certain company" was taking place... And the only thought in my head was to send my sister there, into the seething, beautifully dressed, a little fussing gaggle of candidates, and go to sleep in the car with the appearance of a "very worried" sister 

No such luck! Can you imagine, she grasped me with a bull terrier grip in 45 plus atmospheres and flatly refused to go there alone.
A universal tragedy in her puppy eyes made me remember that I'm the big sister, "sociable weasel", rather than "mope", the best person in the world. And it doesn't matter if I have no CV (by the way, she, Leila, made it in Word just yesterday and here it is with my picture in her folder). Bravo! It was a knockdown...
Grumbling about the fact that if I made the CV by myself, three pages would not be enough, because I'm a braggart and nose-in-the-air... PRO! So, walking on a beautiful path between the trees, she's almost crying and I'm almost in silence, we reached the hall with candidates... 

I take that back!
It wasn't a gaggle of lovely candidates. It was a beehive, even a regiment of variegated guys. Wearing jeans and t-shirts, tuxedos and dresses, sport pants and baseball caps, although it is supposed to attend castings in classic clothes..) My stylist eye (as I thought then) immediately inspected and scanned the room...
Businesslike employees were sitting at reception tables and handing out colored cards. One of the girls, having calmly responded to my "I'm so sorry, but this is a shortened version of my CV, by the way, with recommendations), assured that it doesn't matter, gave me a blue card and invited to enter the hall. 

At that time I had pretty down-to-earth desires to pass these stages as fast as possible, tell everything to my sister and go to sleep in the car.
In one of the rooms I told "about myself", in another one I was asked to reach the piece of paper on a string under the ceiling, and in the third I was given a written test.
Only when I completed both versions of the test (that's not my fault, both tasks were lying in front of me), I was told that it was enough to complete only one. I can remember, that back then I was laughing at my stupidity or wisdom. Of course, I'm a "smarty pants"...That's me who should have come across two tasks: about Da Vinci, kaleidoscope and circles on the cut of the tree, as the principle of chronology. Wow! I still remember. 

And in the end, I'm standing in the hallway and tell my sister and a couple of her new friends, who are wondering "what's going to happen", about the circle of... no, not hell, but an interesting action and absurdity (reach the sheet)...
My little sister followed my footsteps, and I, like a wise owl, sat down on the couch opposite to the reception...
I was approached by a young man, very cute, it should be noted, sat down and asked:
- Are you a candidate for the position of a Flight Attendant, or an Agent?
- 007 (I show scintillation of wit)
The smell of coffee is around me, it tempts me to get rid of the cutie and get to it, preferably a double espresso without sugar.
And only when I stood up drawn by the smell of coffee, with eyes of Monterey Jack from the animated cartoon, IT DAWNED ON ME!
For the position of Flight Attendant???
Agent????
Honestly, while passing the stages I didn't even wonder what I was actually applying for. And as I was listening to my sister inattentively, and to be honest, was not listening at all, I missed the company name...
- Whoa! That was everything I could say and having left the young man alone on the couch, went to search for coffee…
Since then, many years have passed... My sister is working as an auditor in a jewelry company. In the end, she passed the competition too, but since she had a proposal at that time, she delayed attendance and after all changed her mind at all.
So what about me?...
I have a huge family! I have a five-story house at the address of Zakarpatskaya 4"A"
I have the best job and travels...
And I also have a big heart that gets stronger every day (Asel is an ambassador of a corporate program HEART - editor's note)
Come to visit me! I've got a warm welcome and delicious coffee!
And my family is always excited to new relatives!
Do you remember? Zakarpatskaya, 4 "A"!


Igor Chiplikov

In-Flight Leadership Performance Manager
Cabin Crew Performance Division, In-Flight Services Department

Back in 2006 I did not suspect that I would be in this company, learn the most unique profession and see a half of the world firsthand...
But, first things first...
On March 18, 2006 Air Astana held an Open House Day in the Hyatt Rakhat Palace hotel in Almaty. There were a lot of people, as I later learned from the news, about 1500 people. It was very cloudy and windy day... Besides, it was the birthday of my father.

After lunch I received a call from my classmate, who was dreaming to become a flight attendant all her life, and she offered me to try my luck and participate in an interview for the position of a flight attendant. Honestly, it wasn't a dream of "all my life" 

When I was going out somewhere and my parents asked me "Where are you going?! When will you be back?" - I often replied "I have to fly to Istanbul or Paris urgently... I got called" 

So, that day we went to Open House. There was a strong wind and pouring rain... We arrived already in the evening - around 5 pm. The street was empty and we decided that this event had already ended... We were about to turn around and leave, but suddenly the door opened and we were called over by a girl in the flight attendant uniform who asked where we came and let us in. She made a huge impression on me back then - she was extremely beautiful, tanned, with a Hollywood smile - just a goddess... I couldn't take my eyes off her.

As for me, I was in torn jeans, stretched leisure sweater, without CV, and in fact came "in sympathy" to support my friend. But I was immediately offered to participate in the competition, I had to fill out the questionnaire - the main thing is that my friend was pleased, because it was important to her not to be alone. 

The Open House Day was held in several stages: oral interview in Russian/Kazakh language, written test for understanding of the English language and an oral interview in English.
The first stage I passed easily (by the way, back then I was talking to the current HRD Zhanara Bimendina)... After the conversation, I was given a green card.

Then I and a group of other participants were seated for a written test - by the way, my result of this stage was controversial, but it was checked by Ms. Evgenia Ni (VP HR&A), who after verification of my written test called my name, and I was going to leave the room, but she looked at me and said, "I give you a chance, pass to the next stage!". It made a great impression on me and gave me more belief in myself!
Then I had an interview with a foreign manager - I was really nervous and I can hardly remember the process, but I do know that at that moment it seemed to me that I was talking nonsense and I would never take such a candidate...  

After that I met with my classmate in the lobby of the hotel, as it turned out she had not passed the second stage... She was very upset, and most importantly - she took offense at me. 

After about a week after the Open House Day, I was invited for additional interviews with the manager of the Flight Attendants Service, as well as for a group task with already selected participants. And as it turned out, these stages I passed successfully too, however, I was refused... Because I was under 20 years old...
I was advised to wait till I'm 20, which is about one and a half years, and come again. As you understand, my dreams were ruined! I had a heartbreak...
In the next one and a half years much has happened: I continued to study, worked, and actually forgot about "Air Astana"... But a month before my 20th birthday, I was called and invited to a meeting. It looked more like a usual conversation, rather than an interview, they explained me which documents I need, how and where to pass medical flight and expert commission, and most importantly, they retrieved the files with my stages and results of 2 year-old recruitment - I was struck by the fact that they had not forgotten about me...
Then everything happened as if in a dream: a few weeks of paperwork, the medical commission, waiting for the group to study. And I could not believe that this is happening to me. From the very beginning not many people believed that I can do it - even my parents. And only when our plane landed at the airport Schiphol in Amsterdam and our group that arrived for training at the training center walked out of the airport terminal and I breathed in the sweet air, I realized that this is real and there is no going back!

Everything is possible! You should not be afraid, just try! Try and believe in yourself! And you will succeed! They believed in me and it worked out!
If you did not succeed the first time, try again and again. Do not be discouraged! Use the tips that you are given. Correct your mistakes and come again!



Engineering and Maintenance Department

 

Andrey Oliya

Director of Maintenance, Engineering Support Department

I've always been fascinated by aviation; it's one of the most uncommon,interesting, constantly changing and developing areas of activity. I went to Minsk Civil Aviation Technical College in 1987, where I studied radio engineering. After that, I worked for Air Kazakhstan in the repair and maintenance laboratory for aircraft radar and radio navigation equipment, and then I moved to the aircraft line maintenance division. I graduated from the Academy of Transport and Communications in Almaty. I've been working in the aviation industry for twenty-five years.

This is my 12th year at Air Astana. I started as an ordinary engineer. In 2011, our airline set up a base aircraft maintenance division. I took a lot of training courses in this field, and I have an engineer's license allowing me to carry out maintenance on the Boeing, Airbus and Embraer aircraft operated by our company. Today I'm Senior Manager of the aircraft maintenance team at Air Astana.

Why am I working here? Because our company is a leader in its industry.

Air Astana offers real opportunities for increasing and using my experience, knowledge and skills. And here you experience for yourself the meaning of a stable financial position, which is especially important today. We're a fast-growing company, a team of professionals and people who want to become professionals. I like my coworkers and get together with some of them outside work. I'm often asked what my personal contribution to flight safety is at Air Astana. The answer is simple: timely and impeccable performance of my duties.

I have a close-knit family. My daughter is 23, and she's studying Economics and Production Management at St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions. I like pets, so currently we have a six-year-old Rottweiler named Hunter and a cat named Johannes at home.


Dina Karabayeva

Officer projects, New Business Development unit


I like working for a company that meets international standards. It's a Kazakh brand that is the image and pride of the country. Air Astana doesn't stand still; it's constantly growing like a living organism. And it helps its employees progress as it grows. You won't find any nepotism here; your career depends only on you and your knowledge.

Three years ago, I graduated from the University of Manchester with a master's degree in Project Management through the Bolashak Program. When I returned to the company, they promoted me and moved me to the new Project Management Department. Today, I'm putting the knowledge I gained in England into practice.

I've worked in the company for five years. After I graduated from Satpaev Kazakh National Technical University, I went through several stages of selection, meetings and interviews in English. What is my personal contribution to the company's success?

My work promotes effective use of the budget, and I'm also working on a centralized database for the Engineering Department. I try to work efficiently by using new methods. I also check all licensing documents of engineering personnel. It is important, what skills has a person that will be allowed to work on an aircraft. Flight safety ultimately depends on me.

If you're imagining a young woman buried in documents and papers, it's not like that. In the morning, I go around the hangar where I work, and every day I see planes standing in line, taking off or taxiing to the airport jet bridges after landing. This impresses me and puts me in the mood. I understand why I'm doing what I do. I'm interested in everything related to aviation and the airline business.

A lot of my colleagues have become my close friends. We help each other, play tennis and billiards together, and we're planning a helicopter ride for the whole team over the countryside around Almaty.


Sanat Bitayev

Team Leader B1

 

I came to work for Air Astana as a mechanic in July 2007; at the time I was already working at the Almaty airport as a fourth class technician. We serviced the old-fashioned Soviet aircraft, the TU-134 and the YAK-40, and I really wanted to work for Air Astana because they had new, modern aircraft, good working conditions and opportunities for career development. I had three interviews and I was only hired after the third. I was initially rejected because my English wasn’t good enough, but I attended language courses to improve it.

I started working as a Line mechanic, refuelling the aircraft. Later on, after taking part in several training courses, I qualified to work on the Fokker 50, Boeing 757, Boeing 767 and the Embraer, with a B1 (mechanical) engineering licence. Since then my career has been going well and today I am in charge of a team of engineers. I have had good teachers who were specialists in their area with great experience. I often go on business trips, travelling as a flying engineer, because when maintenance support is not available at the destination, a specialist flying with the aircraft is used to provide maintenance after the flight. Now, thanks to Air Astana, I am in the training programme for the EASA Part-66 Aircraft Maintenance Licence.

Before I joined Air Astana I had never been on a flight; the first time I got to fly I had a seat in the cockpit and it was superb. It was a thrill to see how well everything that I had worked on when the aircraft was on the ground functioned during the flight. I also met my wife courtesy of Air Astana: she is a stewardess and we now have a son.


Yaroslav Tolstov

Manager of Maintenance

 

I wasn’t someone who dreamed of aviation; I spent my childhood at the Black Sea, in the port city of Novorossiysk, and dreamed of becoming a sailor. But then we moved to Almaty, and after I had graduated from school I decided to become a pilot. However, the year I entered the Academy of Civil Aviation there was only one profession that was funded by the government: Aircraft Avionics. So I took that course and graduated from the Academy with honours. I came to work for Air Astana in 2006 and went from a being a Line M

echanic to the head of the Maintenance Control Centre. Later on, I took part in training courses abroad and was awarded my EASA Part-66 Aircraft Engineers Licence in both Mechanical and Avionic disciplines. The EASA course was launched at the same time as a new technical centre for complex repair and on-site maintenance was opened in Almaty. Of course, none of this was achieved without hard work, and experience is one of the most important aspects of our profession.

Incidentally, I also applied for the Ab-initio pilot training programme but, having weighed all the pros and cons, I decided to train as an engineer. I have never regretted this decision. I dream that my daughter will become a pilot, in fact I plan to insist on it, but I do fly as well. My might-have-been dream is fulfilled through piloting my hot air balloon in my free time; I am an instructor pilot, a member of the Kazakhstan Association of Small Aircraft, and qualified to train others to fly a hot air balloon.


 

Shaimardan Zaitov

Airframe and Powerplant Engineer

 

Before I joined Air Astana I worked for a fixed-rate taxi firm as private driver. By 2005, when I applied to the company, I was a professional driver. I sent in my resume and was offered a job.

I started by driving office staff and later on cabin crew. I had a discussion with a colleague who was studying at the Academy of Civil Aviation. She told me that even though she was over 30 years old, she was a second grade student. By that time, I was 31, but I was so inspired by the example of my colleague that I applied to the Academy myself. Unfortunately, I did not score enough points, but I persisted and enrolled in the correspondence department of the Aviation College and then achieved the level of a technician. Step by step I worked towards the aircraft: in 2007, I transferred to the terminal where I worked as a driver within the airport taking crews to the aircraft. All the time I was studying hard. I graduated from college and then from the Academy of Civil Aviation.

In 2015, I became an engineer at Air Astana and now I plan to obtain my EASA Part-66 Licence. Currently I am an ordinary В1 category engineer, but I am very happy with what I have achieved, considering that I started out as a driver. Someone once asked me ‘Why do you want to go back to school and change your profession at the age of 30?’ Because by that time I had realised how important it is to never give up, but to keep moving forwards, even at my age.


 

Ticketing and Reservation team

 

Nadezhda Andreyeva

Manager training and quality standards

When someone asks me why Air Astana has won four SkyTrax medals, my answer is: for reliability, fast and continuous growth, the ambition to be the best and loyalty (in rates, to passengers and employees).

When I was a third-year student at Sarsen Amanzholov East Kazakhstan State University, I applied for a position as a flight attendant. Even I was surprised, because I was terrified of flying. I thought I would never pass the medical exam, and I continued my studies. But two years later, when I already had a degree in translation, Air Astana called and offered me a job as a ticket sales and reservation agent in their Ust-Kamenogorsk office. I was really indifferent at first, but I decided to give it a try. I've been with Air Astana for six years now.

I worked in Ust-Kamenogorsk for three years and then continued in the Astana sales office, where I was a senior agent and later a shift supervisor at the Booking and Information Center (Call Center). While working for the company, I've found resourceful, creative and caring friends (even outside Kazakhstan) and learned a lot of new things about aviation. My colleagues and I not only work together, but even travel together. Last year, we visited Istanbul, and this year we're planning a trip to Tbilisi and Paris.

There's an interesting and useful rule in service – Think Like a Customer. Life has taught us to remember this constantly. And it's a pleasure to hear the reply: "Thank you for all your help". Here you can grow as a professional by helping people. A couple of Canadians once landed here. The meeting party somehow got mixed up, and there was no one to greet them. The two foreigners were alone in a strange country out of touch and with no knowledge of the language. They asked our representative office for help, and we provided it: we took them to the hotel where they were expected.


Elnura Moldassanova

Team Leader, Ticketing and Reservations

It's strange, but true: when I was a student in the Finance Department at the International Business Academy, even then I couldn't imagine myself working in finance. I don't know how I got the idea, but I decided to give the aviation business a try. It was probably because I love to travel. I wanted to learn more about other countries, cultures and people. I sent in a resume for the position of specialist in the Booking and Information Center (Call Center). I passed all the tests and interviews, and they offered me a job. As I exactly recall, this was on February 14, 2012.

The first few months of work were the hardest and most absorbing. I learned about the Amadeus system and fell totally in love with my job. I talked to each passenger like a friend, and tried to learn from experienced colleagues. After six months, they trusted me to issue tickets in the system for the whole call center. Within a year, I'd learned all the processes really well and I moved to the new standards and quality division of our Marketing and Sales Department. I trained employees, gave advice and held workshops, presentations and events.

I got this job after going through three competition stages and getting good scores. While working in the division, I met all my colleagues – nearly 200 people. A year later, there was an opening for a more senior position with stiff competition. But I passed successfully and became Shift Supervisor of the Booking and Information Center. Now I'm responsible for very same agents like I was when I first started at the company. I feel like I'm in the right place one hundred percent.

Air Astana really deserves all those SkyTrax medals. We're a big family with the best colleagues, working conditions and atmosphere. Everyone has an opportunity to prove themselves and feel socially protected. And each of us tries to make a personal contribution to the company's growth. That's why I'm here.


Madina Kerimzhanova

Senior Special Services Agent

What does the name of my position in the company mean? Accompanying children or people with special needs, transporting animals or ordering special in-flight meals – all of these are special services. We inform passengers of schedule changes and flight delays, and confirm special services, such as accompanying children, transporting patients on stretchers, transporting sports equipment, etc.

I was born and raised in Taraz. I studied English while I was at Akhmet Yassawi University, and graduated with a degree in finance, because I thought knowledge in this field would always come in handy. But I didn't want to work for a financial company, and I stayed to work at the university so I could take my time looking for a job that suited me.

The employees on our team all help each other, especially new hires. It's a friendly environment, and positive emotions are guaranteed during a hard day at work. Our managers are competent people who are always ready to support us. I've appreciated this for seven years, and realize that this is what I love doing.

I've wanted to work for a national airline for a long time, and in 2008 I sent in a resume. I was hired as a specialist in the Booking and Information Center in Almaty.

In the years I've worked here, my attitude has changed, not only to myself, but also to people around me. I've become more serious and responsible and learned how to take a broader view of things. We once received a request to accompany a bedridden child. He and his parents had to get from Almaty to Uralsk, but there were no flights to this airport at the time, and the boy wasn't stable enough to make several transfers. Finally, I called all the domestic companies and gathered information about all possible options for the parents, even if we couldn't send him on one of our flights. His mother and father were really grateful to us for that. When the parents contacted us again in the fall of 2014 about transporting their son, we were able to help them once more.

Thanks to the opportunities our company offers us, I've fallen in love with traveling. I love to spend time with my friends and family, and I love to draw. And I love life!



Railya Amirova

Team Leader

 

When I was a student at university I wondered what sort of career I would have. I wanted to do something that involved helping people and sharing the best of myself. When I watched airline staff working at airports I always wanted to be like them. It didn’t matter where they where – Paris, Amsterdam, New York or Astana – they were attractive and friendly. It was as though they were the personification of countries and cities all over the world. By then I had already started to study the Amadeus booking system and was looking out for job opportunities at Air Astana, the company which seemed to offer the best career prospects. After five years of working here I am still convinced of this. I started working in the Call Centre and immediately realised that I was in the right place. In 2016 I was named Agent of the Year in the ‘Trustworthy’ category. Now I am Team Leader at the Air Astana Call Centre, a position that gives me a great opportunity to realise my own potential. I am grateful to the company for everything it has given me – confidence in the future, self-fulfillment, new friends, for caring about its employees and for a world full of new countries and cities that have opened up in front of us. Of course, anything can happen at work. I remember one time that immigration refused to let an elderly lady leave the country so she had to stay at the airport for three days without food or money. My colleagues and I helped her; we brought her food every day and collected money to buy her medication. When she finally set off to go home she thanked us with tears in her eyes. It makes me very happy to be able to help people like this.



Gaukhar Konussova

Senior Special Services Agent

 

I knew while I was at school that I wanted to work in tourism. After graduating from Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, having specialised in tourism, I applied to Air Astana and soon started work as an Agent in the Call Centre. I like everything about it here. I believe that Air Astana has only the most professional and highly qualified people working for the company, who are responsive and always ready to help. It isn’t easy working with passengers when you need to follow strict procedures and regulations, so we need to find a common language with many different people and be stress-resistant. I have learnt a lot in four years, and now I am a Senior Special Services Agent. Our department is responsible for notifying passengers when flights change for various reasons, such as weather or technical issues. Being able to help passengers when their flights are delayed or cancelled makes me feel like I am really making a difference, as people can often feel completely lost in these situations. Disruption causes stress not only for our passengers, but also for us, working for the airline. We help to re-issue tickets for appropriate flights, and when the customer is happy, we are happy too.



Yuliya Fyodorova

Call Centre Manager

 

Like many students in the foreign language faculty I dreamed of travelling the world, which is why after graduating from university I immediately applied to Air Astana for the role of flight attendant. Now I have been working for the company for more than 10 years. For the first three years, I worked as an In-flight Supervisor, but when I started a family I decided to come back to earth. In 2011 I moved to the ticket office, where I learnt everything all over again. The ticket office at the airport is one of the public faces of the airline. The level of service provided, including knowledge, skills, appearance, speech and voice, strongly influence how people feel about Air Astana and may be one of the governing factors in their choice of airline. I needed to learn to communicate with people without becoming emotional or succumbing to stress, and so make a personal contribution to the image and profitability of the airline. In 2012, I became the Best Agent amongst the regional offices and in 2013 I was promoted to the position of Regional Manager. That was an important and interesting period in my career. Regular business trips around Kazakhstan helped me to learn more about the history of people in other cities of our large country, and to take a new look at our passengers and understand their needs. I am currently a Call Centre Manager. For me, this is the heart of Air Astana. News flows in from all our branch offices and departments: whenever something unexpected happens the Call Centre is the first to field the calls, and so we always have our finger on the pulse. We learn from, and put into practice, the experience of our colleagues; for instance, last summer I took part in the annual summit of leading Contact Centres in Moscow. The knowledge that I gained there helped me to develop the working processes in our Call Centre.



Dauir Yerkenuly

Ticketing Agent

 

After graduating from university, I worked in a small company, but I couldn’t see a great future for me there. As soon as I saw the vacancy advertised on the Air Astana website I decided to change my life and sent in my resume. People spoke very positively about the company and I could see the results for myself, so I chose to join the team that I am now part of. To begin with I found everything very interesting but also challenging. I worked as an agent in the Call Centre, learning from my colleagues and attending training sessions. Every single detail is important in this job, even our appearance, since a passenger’s journey with Air Astana begins in our office. If I could recall all the personal dramas we have helped sort out in the office I could write a book! It is a particular pleasure to help elderly veterans of the Great Patriotic War and old soldiers because the airline offers them discounted tickets. Sometimes they just stop by to ask how much a flight would cost and we can offer them a 100% discount! Words can’t describe the feeling you get when you see the happiness in people’s eyes when they have been given the opportunity to study, work and live. I am very happy to work in a company that makes these things possible.


Ground Services department

 

 

Lazzat Sagiyev

Ground Service Manager, Aktobe

My interest in aviation manifested when I was 11, when I took my first flight with my father in a TU-154 to Alma Ata. I sat at the window and watched the ground from way up high. At that moment, the still vague idea that I too could fly someday took my breath away. And when I read Arthur Hailey's novel Airport, I learned about aviation, about how different services at the airport worked and realized that I wanted to be useful to people in this business.

I have a degree in English translation, and after I graduated, I worked for an oil company. I had a daughter, and when she was ten months old, I saw a recruitment ad for ground service employees in a newspaper. The first round took place in Aktobe. There were a lot of applicants, and I thought my chances were slim. But I got a phone call inviting me to the second round in Almaty. It was an exciting experience, because the company's first president, Lloyd Paxton, was present. That's how the airport became my second home. I've worked here for more than ten years now.

I'm responsible for all our operations at Aktobe Airport, and my job allows me to influence decisions about the selection. I suggested holding training courses for the airport's logistics agents (the airport's service) to improve service and make our operations more efficient. And they started holding the courses. We use role-playing games (agent-passenger) to understand different situations that often happen during registration, and we study new rules and procedures.

What do I like about working for Air Astana? The fact that each day is different from another, and you could never call my job "routine". I think the company earned four stars in the SkyTrax rating thanks to the passengers who chose an airline. And each Air Astana employee does everything possible so that passengers choose us.

I'm a happy wife and mother of a sweet girl Dilnaz. I love sports: tennis, morning runs, cycling and dancing. I'm interested in psychology and read a lot. This is also part of my life, like my work.


 

Alexandr Neboga

Vice President Ground Services

Speaking of aviation, we usually think of dynasties. That is kind of a tradition — a pilot’s son is more likely to become a pilot, too. Alexandr Neboga, Vice President Ground Services, did not relate to aviation before joining Air Astana. He graduated from Eurasian National University named after L.N. Gumilev, with a degree in Country Studies, majoring in Arabic. His parents expected their son to have a diplomatic career — at that time the public sector was open to employ young people with knowledge of Eastern languages.

— Once, it was in the final year of college, we met with my course mates and discussed our future. At that moment one of our friends, Yerbolat Baisalykov, was already working for Air Astana, from him we knew that it was a new company and working there was interesting. I remember us joking that it would be nice to work somewhere abroad, to practice the language skills. After receiving diploma, I have sent my CV to many companies in Astana and Karaganda and together with that I was undergoing selection process for work in the area of public services. I applied to Air Astana as well — I still remember that I did not get into the company's office itself, I had to leave my CV at the reception. Honestly speaking, I did not think my CV would reach Recruitment department. And one day I've got an invitation call from Air Astana to go for an interview, and later I was invited for the second phase of the interview in Astana and Almaty.

I became interested in working for Air Astana after passing the second interview. “I thought I could use my skills, including language skills.” Alexandr says; and this impacted his decision — he was hired as a Ground Services Agent and sent to Almaty for training.

— We were trained how to work with the check-in system and I kept asking myself all the time — what am I doing here and why? My relatives and friends were asking me the same question. “Why did you study Arabic for five years?” wondered my parents. But when I was sent to the apron, I understood that it was interesting to work in the aviation industry.

After the apron, Alexandr worked as an aircraft alignment specialist, coordinated various ground services projects. In 2008, Oliver Mathwitch, Ground Services Director at that time, offered him a position of a Project Manager in the Ground Services department. There were many projects — online check-in that we launched together with Rustem Karymov, project for aircraft de-icing in Astana and Almaty, project for the Centralized service for preparing flight documents.

In 2010 Alexandr brought his family to Almaty and same year became a Manager Ground Services department.

— We analyzed the work of stations, dealed with personnel, opened new directions. Especially many stations were opened in the CIS. Having an aim to improve work processes we started promoting the Carriers Committee in the airport of Almaty and Astana; proposed ideas and actively participated in projects to improve existing workflows. This is a good practice that allows airlines to discuss problems with airports, find solutions and implement them. All over the globe, the activity of AOC is regularized. I think we will also get to that point in the future.

During that time, Alexandr combined working on projects with the role of Deputy Director Ground Services. Major objectives were set, primarily service-related. On the management’s initiative a Singapore company was invited, all the employees underwent customer services training. We managed to change the attitude of employees to work, a floating schedule was introduced, which all helped to increase work efficiency during rush hours.

In 2014, Alexandr became Deputy Director Ground Services and shotrly thereafter became Vice President of the department. In 2016 mobile check-in service was launched; it seems to be a simple tool, while its introduction implies great changes that facilitate better service and experience for passengers.

— Now, when I look back and recall my doubts and first steps in aviation, I understand that I made the right choice after all. Before Air Astana there was not much of a ground service in Kazakhstan in general. We literally streamlined operations from scratch, we gain new experience and this is really exciting. We are implementing the best international practices into our environment. Introducing products that thousands of Kazakhstanis use. Each day brings new knowledge, experience in the rapidly changing industry — what can be more interesting than that? For 11 years of work, Air Astana has become a part of me and my family. It happened so that the history of Air Astana in my life and the history of my family are now inextricably linked, they started practically on the same day.

Alexandr has a unique ability to tell about aviation in an exciting manner. That’s why it’s no wonder that his brother and two close friends are now in aviation — they are controllers in “Kazaeronavigatsia”. He has children who are growing in love with travelling. Who knows, it may be the start of a new dynasty in the aviation industry.