New Air Kazakhstan airplanes presented in Astana08 july 2014, 15:56
Bombardier Aerospace has presented a Q400 NextGen airplane in Astana. Kazakhstan is planning to purchase several of those for its new airlines, Tengrinews reports.
Representatives of the new airlines Air Kazakhstan and journalists boarded the plane for a test flight. According to Bombardier Aerospace, the airplane is ideal for Central Asia. The airplane meets the security standards and can service domestic flights in Kazakhstan. It can work both in hot climate and in extreme cold that are intrinsic to Kazakhstan’s continental climate. Moreover, operational costs are lower in comparison to other 70-seat airplanes.
The Q400 NextGen is a fast, quite, fuel-efficient turboprop designed for short haul routes. It is one of the most technologically advanced regional aircraft in the world. It has an enhanced cabin, lowest operating costs, low fuel burn and low emissions.
“Commercial agreement with a Kazakhstani company is at the final stage. At the moment we are talking about ten airplanes. A catalogue price of one airplane is around $30 million,” Business Development and Sales Director Mark Gilbert said.
Nurzhan Shakirov, President of the new Kazakhstani airlines, said that the airplanes would be purchased this year, but delivered next year.
“These 10 airplains will be supplied in batches throughout 2015. We will start flying the first batch in the first half of 2015," he said.
"Samruk-Kazyna and Bombardier are partaking in the project," Shakirov said about Air Kazakhstan airlines. "Bombardier is providing consultancy services and means for creation of an aviation and technical training center."
Speaking about the Q400 NextGen aircraft he said: "The presented airplane is the best, and considering climatic and geographical specifics of our region, it is the only airplane that fits the bill. It is fast enough. We are purchasing them at $23 million each.”
Even though Kazakhstan is setting up its own training center, pilots for the new company will be trained in Canada, he said. “We will hire foreign pilots to begin with due to a shortage of local pilots. But we will be gradually introducing our local pilots into the company. In the first year, part of the cabin crew will also be local,” Shakirov added.
The new company would be prioritizing three hubs: Astana, Almaty and Atyrau, he said.
The new air company aims to have lower prices for fares then the other companies operating in Kazakhstan. But the chief of Air Kazakhstan did not specify how much lower the prices would be saying that is was too difficult to predict the prices.
The idea of creating the new airlines company in Kazakhstan was suggested by President Nazarbayev in February. Later, Samruk-Kazyna Fund announced that the new air company would start operating in 2015 to create an effective competition at the market.
Chairman of the state-run wealth fund Umirzk Shukeyev said that Air Astana, the partly state-run leader of Kazakhstan air market, would be working in partnership with the newly created Air Kazakhstan. "We hold shares in both companies, and we will do our best to harmonize their interests. At the same time we believe it necessary to makes sure there is some healthy competitions among the airlines", he said.
Reporting by Assemgul Kassenova, writing by Gyuzel Kamalova, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina