Computer-generated drawing of 787-8 in Air Astana livery. Courtesy, KC

Kazakhstan-based Air Astana (KC) is purchasing four Boeing 767-300ERs and three 787-8s in an order worth $1.3 billion at list prices. It is the largest ever in Kazakhstan’s civil aviation history.

The 767s will be delivered in 2013 and 2014 and the 787s in 2017 and 2019, the airline said.

At a press conference Sunday in Almaty, KC chairman Nurzhan Baidauletov said the introduction of the Dreamliner “will place Air Astana amongst the leading airlines of the world in terms of operating the highest quality, environmentally friendly air services.” Baidauletov also stressed that KC would not require state or shareholder funds for the purchases, but “will fund the new aircraft through a combination of its own cash and financial instruments through the air finance market.”

KC president Peter Foster said the 767s, equipped with winglets, would replace the two leased aircraft of this type and progressively replace its leased 757s.

KC also announced its 2011 net profit declined by 19% to $61.9 million. Capacity grew by 15% and the number of passengers carried increased 16% to just over 3 million. Revenue was $760 million, up 16%.

Foster said the decline in profitability was entirely due to fuel price rises of more than 130% over 2010. Nonetheless, “a net margin of 8.1% is very respectable by industry standards and ahead of our 10-year average,” he said.

During the year the airline introduced its first three Embraer E-190 regional jets and one additional 757. It launched new services to Samara in Russia and Tbilisi in Georgia and increased frequencies on most of other routes.