Uzbekistan is getting a new air carrier called Qanot Sharq Airlines. The carrier has already signed up for two leased Airbus A320 aircraft under contact with Air Lease Corporation. Those two jets are expected to arrive at the airline in March and will become the first planes the airline flies.
Qanot Sharq Airlines signs for two Airbus A320s
Qanot Sharq Airlines of Uzbekistan has signed up to take two leased Airbus A320 aircraft from Air Lease Corporation. The first two aircraft will arrive at the airline in March and are used jets. Qanot Sharq is the first privately owned airline in Uzbekistan.
AJ Abedin, Vice President – Marketing at Air Lease Corporation, stated the following:
“ALC is pleased to announce this lease placement of two A320-200s with Qanot Sharq Airlines. We have worked closely with the Qanot Sharq executive team and are thrilled to participate in the launch of the first Uzbek startup airline through the placement of their first two aircraft.”
However, in the press release, Nosir Abdugafarov, the owner of Qanot Sharq Airlines, stated the following:
“We are honored and excited to work with one of the largest aircraft leasing companies in the world to assist with the launch of our airline. These two A320-200s are scheduled to deliver in March and will be the first two aircraft in Qanot Sharq’s fleet, ensuring the highest standard of safety and comfort for our passengers.”
Now is a good time for airlines to look at leasing aircraft. Plenty of used aircraft have entered the market, and without a lot of demand for aircraft, airlines can get a good deal on a new lease or purchase agreement.
Uzbekistan’s air market
Uzbekistan’s dominant airline is Uzbekistan Airways. As Uzbekistan’s flag carrier, it is based out of Tashkent’s Islam Karimov International Airport (TAS).
Uzbekistan Airways has an extensive route portfolio that includes European destinations, like Frankfurt and Paris, East Asian cities like Seoul, and the United States via New York.
Using an Airbus A320, Qanot Sharq can service many destinations, but mostly within Central Asia. According to Airbus, an A320ceo with sharklets has a range of 3,350 nautical miles. Out of Tashkent, the plane can serve destinations within this sphere:
The sweet spot for the A320 are short- and medium-haul routes. To start, Qanot Sharq indicated it was looking at providing scheduled air service to the following destinations:
- Istanbul, Turkey
- Ankara, Turkey
- Dubai, UAE
- Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
- Medina, Saudi Arabia
- Moscow, Russia
- St. Petersburg, Russia
- Almaty, Kazakhstan
Future domestic destinations could include Samarkand and Fergana. Uzbekistan’s domestic flights are mostly flown by Uzbekistan Airways, so Qanot Sharq could bring some competition to the marketplace.
Air Lease Corporation
Based out of Los Angeles, Air Lease Corporation is one of the world’s largest aircraft leasing companies. The company manages over 380 aircraft in 61 countries, placed with over 107 airlines.
The big four US airlines plus Alaska, Frontier, and Hawaiian are listed as Air Lease Corporation customers. Air Lease Corporation has no customers currently in Uzbekistan, but it does work with Air Astana, which is based out of Kazakhstan.
Will you fly with Qanot Sharq when it launches? Let us know in the comments!