FlyArystan, the Kazakhstan low-cost carrier (LCC), is to establish a new aircraft base at the western Kazakhstan regional city of Aktobe, from the second quarter of 2020, the airline has announced. Locating two Airbus A320s there means the budget airline will be able to offer 10-12 routes from Aktobe.
Aktobe, which is located some 1,000 km west of the central Asian country’s Nur-Sultan capital, is the low-cost airline’s first base in the country’s western region and its second regional base after Karaganda was announced last month. Aktobe will become the airline’s fourth Kazakhstan aircraft base following on from Almaty, Nur-Sultan and Karaganda.
Peter Foster, president and chief executive of Air Astana, announced the new Aktobe base and is confident in the development prospects for the entire region, as residents and visitors will have new opportunities for “affordable travel both within the country and internationally”.
“Since we launched FlyArystan, flights across the network have achieved an average seat load factor of 94 per cent. With the launch of this new western Kazakhstan base for FlyArystan in 2020 residents of Aktobe and the west will no longer have to travel first to Almaty or Nur-Sultan in order to reach their final destinations. We expect the initial two aircraft based at Aktobe to allow us to launch approximately 10-12 non-stop routes,” Foster revealed.
Up to one million seats will be offered by FlyArystan annually from Aktobe in the medium term, he added.
From Aktobe airport, flights are currently provided by local operators Air Astana, Bek Air, SCAT, Qazaq Air and Russia’s Aeroflot. Some 411,200 people used the airport’s services in 2018.
Western Kazakhstan shares a border with Russia’s south-western Orenburg region, with some 134 km between the airports of Aktobe and Orsk, and Uzbekistan, as well as six other Kazakhstan regions. This locale is a fundamental factor in the development of local tourism, a significant increase of which has already been observed in recent years. “Last year, about three billion tenge (approximately US$8 million) was attracted to the development of tourism projects in the region. This year that figure has increased by 300 per cent,” Urazalin Ondasyn, head of the Aktobe region, has revealed.
Kazakhstan’s first and only budget airline began operations in May 2019, initially with two 180-seat Airbus A320 aircraft based at Almaty. It is expected that during 2020 FlyArystan will enlarge its fleet up to 10 Airbus A320 aircraft.
FlyArystan, which is the low-cost division of the Almaty-based flag carrier Air Astana, will initially serve only domestic destinations, but the airline plans to expand to regional international routes in the mid-term.
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