Kazakhstan’s Qazaq Air growing faster than industry average

Qazaq Air is looking to further expand its fleet in light of growing traffic The airline is now selling almost 50% of its tickets online (Qazaq Air)

Kazakhstan’s government-owned regional carrier Qazaq Air, which launched operations two years ago, has reported higher traffic growth than the country’s industry average.

A spokesperson for the airline, which operates three Bombardier Q400 turboprops, commented that the launching new routes, network optimization, and international-scale events hosted by Kazakhstan all contributed to the brisk growth.

The carrier’s operational results for January-July this year demonstrated a noticeable year-on-year growth. PR director Sergey Khetsuriani told Russian Aviation Insider that Qazaq Air had carried 121,700 passengers in the first seven months of 2017, or up 43% on the same period last year. The seat load factor for the operator’s 78-seat Q400s increased 15 percentage points to 69%.

Qazaq Air added four new destinations during the period, and now operates 15 routes. The share of online sales climbed 15 prcentage points to 46% of total sales. Out of this number, 23% were sold through Qazaq Air’s official website, with the rest distributed through online agencies.

Over the same period, all of Kazakhstan’s airlines carried a total of 4.035 million passengers (up 21.3% year-on-year), the country’s statistics committee reports. This makes Qazaq Air’s traffic growth rate twice the industry’s average rate. That said, the operator accounted for only about 3% of the entire traffic.

Khetsuriani explained that one of the carrier’s main growth drivers has been the international show Expo 2017, held in Astana from June 10 to September 10: “Since the beginning of the show, the number of flights to the capital city of Kazakhstan has tripled as compared to the same time last year. We launched routes to Astana from Kostanay, Shymkent, and Jezkazgan. We are also planning a service to Aktobe, which would offer connections to the western regions of the country. In addition, we increased frequencies on our existing routes.”

One additional contributing factor to the improvements in the airline’s operational results was the route network optimization effort, “which enabled us to get better slots and make travel more convenient for passengers,” Khetsuriani noted.

Qazaq Air took delivery of all three of its Q400s in 2015, shortly before it launched operations. So it is safe to assume that increased utilization rates are also contributing to the growth of Kazakhstan’s youngest scheduled carrier. Qazaq Air has further fleet expansion plans. “We are still working on our fleet expansion strategy, but it is possible that new deliveries will come in the spring of 2018,” Khetsuriani commented.

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