Although parent company Air Astana only launched the Kazakhstani carrier in 2019, FlyArystan has grown rapidly in the post-pandemic market to fly 3.1m passengers in 2021 - almost as many as Air Astana itself.
It has now taken delivery of its first new aircraft, one of three new Airbus A320neos it plans to add. The delivery takes its fleet 12 overall, the carrier having previously taken aircraft from Air Astana. It plans to take its next new A320neo before the end of 2023.
FlyArystan is committed to seven A320neos through lessors, with five due to arrive next year taking its fleet to 18. But FlyArystan and Airbus are not immune to supply chain issues. Speaking to FlightGlobal during a delivery ceremony in Toulouse, FlyArystan managing director Adrian Hamilton-Manns says: “Because there is supply chain issues, and because there is some risk in the supply in the next 18-24 months, we also just put out an RFP for two A320ceos, so we are looking at taking two [A320]ceos next year as well, just to give us protection in the next three to five years, to insulate us from any issues we could get from aircraft delivery.”
Although the airline has no intention of looking to upscale its orders for bigger aircraft or longer haul. “We are a pure low-cost carrier… getting very long haul planes, getting widebodies, that’s a deviation from the model we aren’t going to do,” says Hamilton-Manns.” With a split of 80% domestic traffic and 20% international, the airline is still looking at expanding into new routes both domestic and into markets including Saudi Arabia, Georgia, India and Uzbekistan.
The new aircraft also support the carrier’s ambitions to put sustainability at the core of its business model. “Sustainability has become such a key feature of aviation now,” says Hamilton-Manns. “First of all, [with the A320neo] you burn less fuel so it saves you money, but on top of that, people want to know now what you are doing to offset the carbon you are burning. All of our work is around trying to be more sustainable.” FlyArystan even has a vision of going completely paperless, and has a plan for next year to buy each domestic airport in Kazakhstan a laptop so they don’t have to send paper invoices as they do now.
“Our vision is: if Michael O’Leary saw us he would be proud of us,” he says.