In a move to eventually switch to an all-Airbus A320 fleet, Avia Traffic Company (YK), a private Kyrgyz airline, took delivery of its first aircraft of the type. At present the official procedures are underway to include the aircraft into the country’s aircraft register. The process is expected to be completed within the next 10 to 15 days, the carrier’s general director Karim Damin told Russian Aviation Insider.
According to open sources, the aircraft was previously operated by Moldovian airline Sky Prim Air under tail number ER-AXS. The new preliminary tail number is EX-32005.
Avia Traffic Company, the largest airline in Kyrgyzstan in terms of passengers carried, is planning a gradual transition to an Airbus A320 mono-type fleet. “These aircraft are more commercially viable,” Damin explained, noting that the airline is planning acquisition of another aircraft of the type. Commenting on when the second aircraft may arrive at Kyrgyzstan, the top-manager said “I wouldn’t want to specify, but I think it will be within the next month or two.”
Like the first aircraft, the second one won’t be new, as the carrier is currently not in the position to purchase aircraft straight from the OEM. The carrier’s further fleet development plans ‘will depend on the economic situation.” Earlier Damin said that the airline’s strategy inclines towards operating its own aircraft and avoiding leasing schemes. “This is aimed at enabling us to escape being suffocated by leasing payments during lower seasons.”
Also, aircraft financing isn’t easily available for Kyrgyz carriers blacklisted by the European Union.
Avia Traffic Company currently operates three Boeing 737-300s with the seating capacity for 148 passengers. In March this year the carrier phased out the last of its two 99-seat BAe 146 regional jets. One B737 was damaged and written off following accident at Osh airport last November. Operation of one of the three 737s is expected to finish next January.
At the end of last year the airline, which operates out of two base airports in Bishkek (Manas) and Osh, carried 466,000 passengers (up 4,5% to 2014 operational results). Out of this number, 352,000 passengers traveled on international routes, and the remaining 114,000 – on domestic routes.
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