Kazakhstan flag carrier Air Astana has announced plans to create a new low-cost subsidiary under the branding Fly Arystan.

The group said the airline would initially operate a fleet of four A320 aircraft configured with 180 all-economy seats, serving “mostly domestic routes”, but with plans to expand into regional international destinations in the mid-term.

The carrier will fly from several bases in Kazakhstan, with routes still to be announced, and with aims to grow to a fleet of 15 aircraft by 2022.

The group said that fares would be “approximately half of what Air Astana offers today”, adding that the low-cost model would follow “examples of highly successful airlines such as Easyjet, Indigo, Cebu Pacific, and Air Asia”.

Fly Arystan will be headed up by British-Australian national Tim Jordan, previously of Cebu Pacific and Virgin Blue (the original name of Virgin Australia).

Commenting on the news Peter Foster, President and CEO of Air Astana, said:

“Fly Arystan is the result of much serious thought and internal business planning, and comes as a result of a rapidly changing local and regional airline business environment. It will be good for the mid to long-term prospects of Air Astana, and we hope, very welcome to the Kazakhstan travelling public, who will be able to benefit from significantly cheaper airfares on domestic and regional routes.”

Air Astana recently increased its London Heathrow to Astana service to daily, with the route served by three-class (economy, Economy Sleeper and business class) B757-200 aircraft.