Vietnamese conglomerate Sovico Group, a major shareholder and founder of VietJetAir (VJ, Hanoi Noi Bai International), is set to take control of Qazaq Air (IQ, Astana Nursultan Nazarbayev), a statement issued following a meeting between Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and the head of Sovico Group, Nguyen Thanh Hung, said.

The statement said a binding agreement on principles had been signed between the Kazakh sovereign wealth fund, Samruk-Kazyna JSC, and Aviation Holdings Company (part of Sovico Group) regarding the terms of the acquisition of Qazaq Air. According to the agreements, the Vietnamese investor plans to equip Qazaq Air with at least twenty B737-8s and A320/321 jets within five years. The signing of the sales agreement and subsequent closing of the transaction is expected to take place "soon".

In addition, Nguyen Thanh Hung verbalised the company’s interest in taking over the running of a number of Kazakh airports, as well as investing in logistics warehouses throughout the Central Asian state.

Samruk-Kazyna has been trying hard to offload its 100% stake in Qazaq Air over the past 12 months. Following a lack of interest initially, it was forced to adjust its terms and conditions in February this year.

Qazaq Air currently operates five Dash 8-400s on flights to Kazakhstan's secondary and tertiary cities as well as a handful of Russian destinations. For its part, VietJetAir operates seventy-eight A320/1ceo and neo Family jets and seven A330-300s. It also has orders for 100 B737-8-200s and 100 B737-8s from Boeing (BOE, Washington National) alongside eighty-seven A321-200Ns and twenty A321-200NY(XLR)s from Airbus (AIB, Toulouse Blagnac).