Air Astana (KC, Nur-Sultan Nazarbayev) has dusted off its IPO plans with a possible 2018 listing now on the cards. Chief Executive Officer Peter Foster told reporters last week that the carrier would undertake two listings: one in Kazakhstan with a secondary on a foreign bourse, one of London, Hong Kong or Singapore.

The search for a lead financial institution will commence by October this year with an appointment to be made by February of next year. The IPO itself is expected to occur between March and October 2018 with the size of the shares floated to be between 30 and 50% of its value.

The Kazakh carrier pursued an IPO in 2006 and again in 2012 as part of the government's efforts to place greater control of public assets into citizens' hands. The latter listing was eventually abandoned after government refused to cede any of its shares. However, while the state has now agreed to drop that condition, it has insisted that the majority of Air Astana's shares remain in the hands of Kazakh nationals so as to comply with the terms of its Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) obligations.

Founded in 2001, Air Astana is a 51/49 joint-venture between the Kazakh sovereign wealth fund, Samruk Kazyna, and United Kingdom-based firm, BAe Systems (Warton).