Afghanistan's Safi Airways Plans Route Expansion, Jet Purchases
(via Bloomberg Business)
Dubai, October 25, 2015: Safi Airways, Afghanistan’s privately owned carrier, is planning to expand its network within a three-hour flight radius from Kabul and will talk to Airbus Group SE and Boeing Co. about buying aircraft.
The carrier is targeting growth markets such as Iran, Kuwait and Kazakhstan, Chief Commercial Officer Joshua Bustos told reporters in Dubai. The airline is looking to add 10 to 20 planes in three to five years and is interested in narrow-bodies including Airbus A319, A320, Boeing 737s as well as turboprops, he said.
The airline, which was founded in 2006 and is owned by the Safi Group, currently flies three domestic and four international routes. It will talk to the aircraft manufacturers about which models are available for purchase and is also considering leasing planes, Bustos said. The airline plans to issue a request for proposals this year.
Afghan carrier Safi Airways plans to expand in next 3 years - CCO (via Reuters)
Dubai, October 25, 2015: Afghan carrier Safi Airways plans to aggressively expand in the coming three years and will approach Airbus and Boeing about aircraft purchases, its chief commercial officer said on Sunday.
Business is growing, driven by demand, Joshua Bustos told a conference in Dubai without elaborating. "We're going to speak to Airbus and Boeing to determine what's available but we do plan an aggressive expansion," he said. Safi Airways is eyeing 10 to 20 narrow-bodied aircraft that will fly routes that are within a three-hour range from Kabul, destinations that will be immediately profitable for the carrier, Bustos said.
"Iran is on top of the list to go to, along with Kuwait," he said, adding that Kazakhstan was also in its plans. The airline plans to kick start expansion with cities that will turn a profit within the year, within a three-hour range from Kabul. Aircraft types the airline is looking into include Airbus' A319 and A320 and Boeing's 737.
Safi Airways Aims to Add Up to 20 Aircraft (via The National)Dubai, October 25, 2015: The Afghan carrier Safi Airways is looking to buy 10 to 20 narrow-body aircraft over the next couple of years as it looks to ramp up its expansion. Joshua Bustos, the chief executive, said that he is mainly looking at Airbus A319, A320 and Boeing 737.
“I am happy with Boeing or Airbus, whichever vendor is going to work with Afghanistan to help secure its future,” he said in Dubai. Mr Bustos is looking to grow Safi’s network with routes within 3 to 3.5 hours’ flying time from Kabul. This includes Kuwait, Beirut, Kazakhstan, Iran and major cities in India. Currently, Safi flies to three domestic and four international destinations. Safi, which is currently banned by the EU to fly to European cities, is working with authorities to get access into Europe.
“We hope to change the perception of what an Afghan airline is like,” said Mr Bustos, adding that once the ban is lifted, he would target cities with large numbers of Afghan expatriates. “We will probably look at Frankfurt first, if we get approval,” he said. The Kabul-based carrier is currently “shelving” long-haul plans with increased focus on reaching profitability. “We are focused first on domestic, regional and then long haul. I would never consider long-haul unless there was a significant incentive to do so,” said Mr Bustos.
Afghanistan’s Safi Airways Plans Expansion (via Gulf News)
Dubai, October 25, 2015: Safi Airways, a private airline in Afghanistan, will aggressively expand in the next three years in a move to fend off competition from international airlines. The airline is looking to order up to 20 narrow-body aircraft and will need at least 10 within two to three years, Joshua Bustos, chief commerical officer of the airline told reporters on Sunday.
Safi Airways currently operates a fleet of four aircraft; two Airbus A319s, one A320 and one Boeing 767. The new aircraft will replace the existing fleet and be used for expansion, Bustos said at an aviation conference in Dubai. Owned by the Safi Group, an Afghan conglomerate, Safi Airways started operations in 2009 and currently flies three domestic routes and four international from Kabul, the country’s capital.
But the increasing number of international operators in the country, including the three major Gulf carriers Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways, means the airline needs to step up its growth plans. “We have to expand very, very quickly to put a foothold in this region so we don’t become irrelevant,” Bustos said.
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Safi Airways Takes Delivery of Two Modern Airbus 319 Aircraft
Kabul, Afghanistan 3rd September 2013: - Safi Airways, the privately owned international airline of Afghanistan has taken delivery of two modern Airbus 319 - 200 aircraft. Safi Airways is in the process of modernizing its fleet and enhancing its onboard and on the ground service offerings to its valued customers.
The A319 aircraft are fitted to offer the very best in-flight comfort and style. The two new aircraft are environmentally-friendly and will provide the highest degree of operational flexibility along with passenger comfort. The aircraft come equipped with a two cabin configuration, with 12 Business Class seats and 108 Economy Class seats, providing the latest in comfort and style with our new catering services.
Pierfranco Prato, CEO, of Safi Airways stated at the Gala inauguration ceremony held at the Safi Land Mark Hotel in Kabul on the 3rd of September;
“We are in the process of modernizing our fleet. Two Airbus 319 aircraft have been commissioned in order to give us the flexibility and range necessary in expanding our reach to other destinations. We have enhanced our catering service and our cabin crew; now have a stylish new look on board. Preparations are under way in providing our valued customers’ a new service standard and a pleasing ambiance on board our fleet of aircraft.”
“Safi Airways business class passengers will be welcomed with our very own Safi Airways signature drink. They will be able to enjoy a selection of carefully prepared canapés with refreshing beverages and tempting appetizers, local and international main courses and a choice of delectable desserts served on fine China and glassware. Passengers seated in economy class will enjoy the best of local and international cuisines, made fresh and prepared to the highest standards.”
“Our Business Class product is carefully tailored to meet the modern business traveler’s needs. Business Class passengers will also be entitled to use the business class lounges on our network. The Economy Passengers will enjoy a 32-33 inch seat pitch.”
Naeem Mahamoor, Manager Marketing stated; “Domestic and international air travel has a key impact on the social and economic development of Afghanistan’s autonomous region. The A319’s high altitude flight performance, range options, versatility, seat layout flexibility and being the proven wide single – aisle fuselage is an ideal choice for Safi Airways which will provide with an edge over our competition. Our fleet enhancements and route development for the future will be spearheaded with A319’s in anticipation of the growing demand for air transport in the region. We constantly review our fleet requirements to ensure the services we offer to our customers remain competitive and provide the highest quality of service. The introduction of the new aircraft highlights our commitment to providing our valued customers with the best product and service on our route network and gives us the opportunity to increase our reach to other destinations in the region”.
With the addition of the two A319’s, Safi airways aircraft fleet will comprise of A319, A320 & Boeing aircraft. The A320 Family (A318, A319, A320 and A321) is recognized as the benchmark single-aisle aircraft family. The A320 Family has the lowest operating costs of any single aisle aircraft. Uniquely, the A320 Family offers a containerized cargo system, which is compatible with the worldwide standard wide-body system.
Safi Airways is committed in maintaining uncompromising international safety standards. We are the first Afghan carrier to operate in compliance with EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) requirements and also the first Afghan carrier certified as complying with the strict ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) and IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) regulations. We operate a modern fleet of Boeing and Airbus aircraft.
The airline currently operates two flights a day from Kabul to Dubai and four flights a week from Kabul to New Delhi on the international route network, along with daily flights from Kabul to Herat on the domestic sector. Safi Airways will operate direct flights from the 1st of October 2013 between Kabul and Islamabad.
“More new destinations will be added to the route network soon. Currently our commercial team is working on obtaining the required government approvals”, stated Mr. Mahamoor.
Safi Airways was incorporated in the year 2006 to satiate the demand for a safe and reliable full service airline, linking Afghanistan to the rest of the world. The airline is owned by the Safi Group of companies. The Safi family hails from the province of Herat and is renowned for trade and commerce, and has diversified into many industries in the UAE.
Herat Airport becomes Afghanistan's second international gateway
Safi Airways (4Q, Kabul) operated the first international flight out of the newly refurbished Herat International Airport to Delhi Int'l on November 16. The flight was flown using an A319-100 Afghan business portal, Wadsam, reports. Featuring a new runway and new facilities following a USD5million upgrade sponsored by Spain and Italy, Herat International is now Afghanistan's second international airport after Kabul. Iran Aseman Airlines (EP, Tehran Mehrabad) also serves Herat from Mashad in Iran with a weekly Fokker 100 service.