The landlocked central-Asian country of Kyrgyzstan is one of several nations to have formerly been part of the USSR. It is home to just over 6.5 million people, and, as far as commercial aviation is concerned, four passenger-carrying airlines. All of these are banned from flying in the EU. But what exactly are these carriers, and which planes do they fly?
No flag carrier at present
Interestingly, Kyrgyzstan doesn’t appear to have a flag carrier at present. This role was previously filled by Kyrgyzstan Airlines until 2005, before Air Kyrgyzstan (known at the time as Kyrgyzstan Air Company) became the national airline in 2006. However, data from ch-aviation.com suggests that the latter of these went out of business in 2017.
Starting alphabetically with Kyrgyzstan’s remaining four active passenger-carrying airlines, we have Bishkek-based low-cost carrier Air Manas. This airline’s fleet presently consists of a single 145-seat Airbus A220-300, which it received back in April 2021.
Having been founded in 2006, Air Manas previously flew to Turkey under the Pegasus Asia brand. At present, the carrier deploys its sole A220 on a domestic route from its hub at Manas International Airport (FRU) to Osh International Airport (OSS).
Avia Traffic Company
Another carrier with its headquarters in Bishkek and its main operating hub in Manas is Avia Traffic Company. Data from ch-aviation shows that this airline operates a comparatively large fleet of five aircraft (one Airbus A320-200 and four Boeing 737-300s).
These aircraft are rather old. Indeed, the A320 clocks in at 28.5 years of age, while the 737s are 26.9 years old on average. The airline also used to operate a single Boeing 737-500 and two British Aerospace 146-200 regional jets. Formed in 2003, Avia Traffic Company has served a wide range of international destinations, including Turkey and Egypt.
Sky KG Airlines
Moving onto Sky KG Airlines, this interesting carrier is Kyrgyzstan’s only Boeing 747 operator. Registered as EX-47003, the airline’s sole 747-400 joined Sky KG in June 2021, having most recently flown for Spanish charter carrier Wamos Air.
The other two aircraft in Sky KG’s fleet, according to data from ch-aviation, are a pair of Tupolev Tu-204s. These had an average age of 12.7 years old at the time of writing, making them considerably more youthful than the carrier’s 27-year old, 475-seat 747. However, as of July 2021, ch-aviation’s data showed that all three aircraft were inactive.
Finally, we come to domestic operator TezJet Airlines. Interestingly, this carrier is actually a subsidiary of the aforementioned Avia Traffic Company. Based in Bishkek with an operational hub in Manas, two of TezJet’s aircraft are Avro RJ85s.
Did you know that all of Kyrgyzstan’s airlines are banned from the EU? Have you ever flown on any of them? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.