By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Alma Aliguzhinova, Air Astana's chief planning officer, said that the order would likely be finalised in the coming months, with first deliveries expected in late 2021
Boeing’s embattled 737 Max aircraft received a boost on Tuesday following a news that Kazahstan’s Air Astana intends order 30 of the planes for its new subsidiary low cost carrier.
At the Dubai Airshow, the two companies signed a letter of intent for the aircraft, worth $3.6 billion at list price.
Once the order is finalised and deliveries begin, Air Astana plans to use the aircraft for FlyArystan, a low-cost carrier it launched in May.
Alma Aliguzhinova, Air Astana’s chief planning officer, said that the order would likely be finalised in the coming months, with first deliveries expected in late 2021.
Currently, the airline only operates two aircraft – both Airbus A320, which Aliguzhinova said had been operating with load factors of 94 percent.
“This is the flagship aircraft for the future of FlyArystan,” she said, adding that the aircraft will primarily be used to service domestic destinations.
Around the world, Boeing 737 Max aircraft remain grounded following the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines aircraft in March.
“We’re confident in Boeing’s professionalism to overcome technical difficulties,” she said.
Aliguzhinova declined to answer a question about whether any the planes will be offered at a discount.
Air Astana for its part - which also operates Airbus and Embraer aircraft - has no plans to change its current fleet composition.
“The nature of operations of our LCC [low cost carrier] and our main carrier are so different that prompted us to run a proper competition….and that’s how we decided that, given the commercial offer we have on hand, this is the right aircraft for the mission it’s going to fly.”For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.