Kazakhstan’s Air Astana and Uzbekistan Airways have adopted multi-brand strategies in response to intensifying competition in the Central Asia and CIS regions. Air Astana and Uzbekistan Airways both plan to launch LCC brands in 2019 using single class A320s that will be transferred from their existing full service operations.
Air Astana and Uzbekistan Airways are the two largest airlines in Central Asia. There is currently only one Central Asian LCC, Kyrgyzstan’s Air Manas, but foreign LCCs have been expanding in the region and aggressive FSC competition has also pressured yields.
In the larger CIS region, there are currently only three LCCs – Air Manas, the Aeroflot subsidiary Pobeda and Azerbaijan Airlines' budget brand Buta Airways. Pobeda, and intensifying competition in the large Russia-Central Asia market, partially drove the decisions by Air Astana and Uzbekistan Airways to establish LCCs. (The CIS includes all five Central Asian countries, along with Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Moldova.)