Qazaq Air CEO Blair Treherne POLLOCK:
WE WILL START NEARBY INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS IN SUMMER 2018
The Kazakh air company Qazaq Air, which has been operating for over two years, will open nearby international flights in summer 2018 after the company passes IOSA, operational safety audit, said CEO Blair Therherne POLLOCK in an interview with Interfax-Kazakhstan.
- Mr. Pollock, you have recently announced that Qazaq Air plans to open international flights. Could you please tell us what the destinations are?
- In the next couple of months, we plan to receive IOSA certification that will allow us to fly internationally. We plan to fly to some nearby international destinations from our transfer hubs in Astana, Almaty and Atyrau. The international destinations from Astana would be to the southern parts of Russia, from Almaty to south, like Kyrgyzstan, and from Atyrau over the Caspian Sea to Caucasus. The air company, in particular, considers Chelyabinsk airport as a potential destination for its international flights. This is the plan for the development of our international flights. I believe we will pass the IOSA audit in March 2018.
In 2017, Qazaq Air transported over 250,000 passengers, a 53% increase in passenger traffic compared to 2016. The total number of passengers carried by the company amounted to 445,000 people.
- When will the company fly internationally?
- Our scheduled international flights will start in summer 2018 after we receive IOSA certification. By that time, we plan to finalize all preparation procedures, including negotiations. An increase in the number of flights means that we will need more planes. Last year we announced that the airlines would buy two aircraft. In the first half of 2019, the company will receive two brand new modern turboprop aircraft Bombardier Q400 NextGen that will allow us to execute our international flights plan. In the meantime, international flights will hold the smallest share of our business. However, as soon as we receive the new aircraft, we will be able to fulfil our international plan.
As you know, we have the youngest aircraft fleet in Kazakhstan. Currently, it consists of three Bombardier Q400 NextGen aircraft.
- Qazaq Air will be privatized by 2020 according to the plans of your only shareholder Samruk-Kazyna Welfare Fund. Has the timeline for privatization changed?
- We do not know the exact dates of privatization. It will depend on the future performance of our company. It is understood that the investors want to see a successful business model and the future profitability of our business. We are happy to talk to any potential international or local investors and aviation partners.
- What share of the company will be privatized?
- We are very flexible to discuss all options on this. I believe it is the intention finally for Samruk-Kazyna to no longer have a holding in its companies. The idea is to help us grow, to incubate us and to create something of value and then to sell us. There may be a multistage process, first, maybe, a certain percentage will get sold and then in the future more. This question should be referred to our sole shareholder Samruk-Kazyna.
- Is it a mandatory condition of the deal that Samruk-Kazyna should retain a controlling stake in Qazaq Air?
- I believe no. I think it is our shareholder who should answer this question.
- Thank you for your time!
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