Qazaq Air switches its base airport

Qazaq Air Kazakhstan’s regional carrier increased its passenger traffic by 16 per cent in the first half of 2019 (Qazaq Air)

Qazaq Air, Kazakhstan’s state-owned regional airline, enjoyed a 16 per cent year-over-year improvement in passenger numbers in the first half of 2019, when some 170,000 people were carried on the airline’s network of 13 domestic scheduled flights and three international routes. The carrier, which hopes to serve more than 420,000 passengers this year, is also planning to switch its base airport from Almaty to Nur-Sultan, presumably giving way to start-up LCC FlyArystan.

Since its operational launch in August 2015, Qazaq Air has been patronised by a total of some 920,000 passengers. “We plan to carry the millionth passenger by the end of September and, in total, expect to carry more than 420,000 passengers this year,” insists Plamen Atanasov, the airline’s chief executive. In the first six months of the year, it achieved a seat load factor of 75 per cent.

Optimisation of the company’s flight network and its fleet reinforcement programme are both contributors to the passenger numbers growth. Since the beginning of this year, Qazaq Air has taken delivery of two De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400s (previously known as the Bombardier Q400 NextGen), increasing the fleet size to five units. The fifth aircraft is now based at Nur-Sultan airport and will be put into commercial operation in the coming days.

The regional airline has also announced plans to relocate its entire fleet from Almaty airport – where start-up FlyArystan, Kazakhstan’s first low-cost carrier (LCC) has been based since May – to the Kazakhstan capital of Nur-Sultan. “This will allow us to perform 24 direct and 55 indirect routes,” Atanasov notes. The carrier also has plans to introduce new routes.

Qazaq Air, which is 100 per cent-owned by the Kazakhstan Samruk-Kazyna National Welfare Fund, carried some 307,000 passengers last year.

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