By Davis Turner 09/10/2021 69 views

On August 30th, Uzbekistan Airways' new low-cost subsidiary Uzbekistan Express took flight from Tashkent (TAS) on route to Moscow (DME) on an a320 aircraft in "full economy configuration." This flight comes as a result of Uzbekistan Airways' decision to create a subsidiary allowing them to operate a "hybrid" fleet model where lower capacity, two-class a320s operate on the main carrier to cities with higher demand, while the subsidiary uses all-economy—"full economy"—a320s. 


Photo of UK67005 - Uzbekistan Boeing 767-300 at TLV
Uzbekistan Airways Boeing 767-300. Photo: AeroXplorer


This new fleet model allows Uzbekistan Express to charge lower fares and increase demand on smaller routes while saving the airline money by not operating empty business class seats on routes with limited business traffic. Indeed, the airline announced in an August 27 press release that they expect to reduce the price of a ticket by 20% with the new configuration model. 


The full economy layout adds much-needed economy capacity; the old configuration on the TAS-DME route contained 138 economy seats and 12 business class seats, while the new full-economy layout contains 174 economy class seats. Only a320s used for Uzbekistan Express are undergoing the cabin change—two thus far—but the airline plans to add more a320s in the future while expanding to airports such as Sochi, Kazan, and Aktau.


Photo of UK78702 - Uzbekistan Airways Boeing 787-8 at ICN
Uzbekistan Airways Boeing 787-8. Photo: Dohwan Kim


The creation of the subsidiary is nothing new in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Uzbekistan Express follows the recent creation of Air Astana's subsidiary FlyArystan and Air Manas, currently owned primarily by Pegasus Airlines. Also in the works is a new low-cost carrier from Georgia, suggesting travel demand is rising in areas where it didn't exist previously, and an air travel boom could be coming in Central Asia.

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