Qazaq Air (IQ, Almaty) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China Express Airlines (G5, Chongqing) wherein the two carriers have pledged to cooperate in the area of regional passenger transport.

A statement issued on Monday, June 11, said the deal could also lead to the Chinese regional carrier gaining equity in Qazaq Air as part of its impending privatization.

"Within this Memorandum, two regional airlines will have the opportunity to discuss the exchange of cross-border passenger traffic and the possibility of direct financial investment by China Express Airlines into the development of our company," Blair Treherne Pollock, Qazaq Air's chief executive, said.

He also expressed confidence that the memorandum would allow the Kazakh carrier to gain direct access to regional passenger traffic feed from China.

Qazaq Air is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kazakhstan's sovereign wealth fund, Samruk-Kazyna. It is one of several enterprises, alongside sister carrier Air Astana (KC, Nur-Sultan), slated for privatization either through the sale of equity or an IPO.

Qazaq Air currently operates three Dash 8-400s on scheduled passenger flights throughout Kazakhstan as well as to Tamchy in Kyrgyzstan. It will also add a further two Q400s in early 2019 to help foster international growth.