Low-cost Kazakhstan carrier FlyArystan chooses its first regional base

FlyArystan The country’s only budget airline plans to operate up to 12 routes out of Karaganda’s Sary-Arka airport (FlyArystan)

Adopting its plan of operating from multiple airport bases, FlyArystan, the first and only low-cost carrier (LCC) in Kazakhstan, is planning to open a new base at Karaganda’s Sary-Arka Airport (IATA: KGF) in the second quarter of 2020.

Karaganda, the country’s fourth largest city, is the first new base to be announced by the Almaty-based budget carrier. It will initially be established with one Airbus A320, with another aircraft of the type planned to join in either in late 2020 or early 2021.

Allocating two aircraft at KGF and launching a network of 12 routes from there means that FlyArystan will raise its capacity up to one million seats annually.

FlyArystan is a division of national carrier Air Astana and started service to Karaganda with a daily rotation from Almaty on the 2nd of May 2019. Since then, more than 200 flights have been operated, with an average load factor of 93 per cent.

Ibrahim Canliel, the chief financial officer of Air Astana, says the opening of the Karaganda base will provide huge opportunities for the development of the region. “The results of the first three months of operations to Karaganda are very exciting with 49 per cent traffic growth versus the same period last year. Starting from the second quarter of 2020 we are planning significant network expansion from Karaganda. After increasing our Karaganda-based fleet to two Airbus A320 aircraft, the number of domestic and international routes served from Karaganda will reach approximately 10-12, providing passengers with up to one million seats per year. This will provide affordable mobility, increase both the tourist and business economic flows to the region and will positively impact the development of the hospitality industry of Karaganda,” Canliel adds.

As a result of the opening of the new base, FlyArystan will now be recruiting in Karaganda for up to 120 new team members, with roles for pilots and engineers as well as inflight and ground service staff.

Kazakhstan’s airlines total passenger numbers declined by three per cent in the first six months of 2019, despite the emergence of LCC FlyArystan.

Sarsenbek Kushkinov, chairman of the board of JSC Sary-Arka Airport – KGF’s privately-owned operator – believes that the decision to base FlyArystan aircraft at the airport confirms the right strategic course for the development of the central Asian country’s first low-cost airline in terms of cost management. “Our partnership follows international practice when low-cost airlines opt for regional airports in order to ensure competitive prices for air travel.”

Located in the depth of mainland Kazakhstan, in the steppes area with its sharp continental climate, “Karaganda has unique weather conditions in terms of visibility and other key flight factors at any time of the year and has all the necessary infrastructure for both a comfortable stay and timely service with planned double growth in passenger traffic next year,” the head of the airport stresses.

FlyArystan’s fleet currently consists of two Airbus А320 aircraft, configured with 180 economy class seats. By 2022, it is planned to increase the airline’s fleet to 15 aircraft based in different cities in the Republic of Kazakhstan.

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