Kazakhstan’s national carrier has revealed plans to launch a new low-cost subsidiary. The budget airline will fly under the branding FlyArystan, with management eyeing its first commercial operations in the “first half of 2019”.
The new airline will initially focus on the domestic market and operate a fleet of four Airbus A320 aircraft in a single-class 180-seat configuration. Specific routes are still to be announced, however it is understood the carrier will fly from several bases throughout Kazakhstan. Commenting on its business model, the company says it aims to follow “examples of highly successful airlines such as easyJet, Indigo, Cebu Pacific, and Air Asia”.
Senior local managers from parent company Air Astana have already been drafted to oversee the project, with British-Australian Tim Jordan appointed to head up the new venture. Jordan boasts more than 15 years’ experience within low-cost carriers including management positions at Cebu Pacific and Virgin Blue. Fares will be “approximately half of what Air Astana offers today” according to the company – a welcome boost for low-cost travel in the vast landlocked nation.
Peter Foster, president & CEO of Air Astana commented: “FlyArystan is the result of much serious thought and internal business planning and comes as a result of a rapidly changing local and regional airline business environment. It will be good for the mid to long-term prospects of Air Astana, and we hope, very welcome to the Kazakhstan travelling public, who will be able to benefit from significantly cheaper airfares on domestic and regional routes”.
With Air Astana’s backing, the new carrier already has ambitious growth plans. International destinations within the region are part of its longer-term strategy, assisted by a fleet of up to 15 aircraft by 2022.
Air Astana is a joint venture between Kazakhstan’s national wealth fund and BAE Systems, with respective shares of 51% and 49%.