MIAMI — Fly Arystan, Kazakhstan’s newest low-cost carrier, took to the skies May 1 for its inaugural flight from Almaty.
Replicating the business models of EasyJet, Indigo, Cebu Pacific, and Air Asia, the budget buster had a relatively short genesis, from idea to earnings within months of its inception.
The subsidiary of Air Astana (KC)—the country’s official airline—was conceived in November 2018 by order of Kazakhstan’s then-president Nursultan Nazarbayev.
The airline launched an eager six months later as an alternative mode of transport for citizens usually resorting to train or bus to get around their large country, primarily focused on commuting passengers domestically.
“We are pitching Fly Arystan at the visiting friends and relatives’ market, primarily. In turn, this will stimulate the leisure market as a second strand, together with an element of business travel,” stated CEO of Air Arystan, Tim Jordan.
In the broader picture, owners also saw an unblemished opportunity of tapping into a newer market of business travelers in hopes of generating a more lucrative national fiscal economy in the long term.
“It has become clear there is huge untapped potential,” said CEO Peter Foster. “Fly Arystan is the result of much serious thought and internal business planning, and comes as a result of a rapidly changing local and regional airline business environment.”
Currently operating the first two of four narrow-body Airbus A320ceos, of a prospective fleet of 15 aircraft by 2022, the six-year-old aircraft handed down from parent company Air Astana underwent some scheduled maintenance work and new paint job. The plane was retrofitted with 180 shiny blue leather Recaro slimline seats, matching the same colors as cabin crew uniforms and designed and sourced by local fashion designers.
Fly Arystan route offerings will have fares at around 50% less than their parent company, Air Astana, and has launched six domestic routes to Taraz, Shymkent, Pavlodar, Uralsk, Nur-Sultan (Astana) and Karaganda from its national hub at Almaty International Airport.
Helping keep prices low will be an onboard low-fare food offering from the newly-minted ‘Fly Arystan Café,’ including local fanfare such as local beer, hot and cold drinks, baguettes, pot noodles, and chocolate bars as well as extra costs incurred for passengers flying with over 10kg of baggage depending on length of route.
“It will be good for the mid to long-term prospects of Air Astana,” added Foster. “And we hope, very welcome to the Kazakhstan traveling public, who will be able to benefit from significantly cheaper airfares on domestic and regional routes.”