Aero Asia International is a private airline based in Karachi, Pakistan. It operated domestic and international services. Its main base is Jinnah International Airport, Karachi. Since May 2007 the airline has suspended from flying due to issues related to the safety of operations and passenger convenience. Since then the owners and executives have been sourcing expertise, systems and aircraft to facilitate a lifting of the suspension in early 2009 in accordance with the 2007 Draft National Aviation Policy issued by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority.
The airline made a promising start, employing senior ex-PIA management with a serious growth plan. The airline contracted two Romanian Airlines aircraft for wet-lease & lease-purchase of BAC 1-11 aircraft. Operations were started with wet-leased BAC 1-11 aircraft from the VIP fleet of Romania operated by Romavia Airlines, a sister company of the Romanian Airforce. This fleet was primarily used by Romanian government dignitaries during Ceauşescu's times. However, the post Ceauşescu governments decided to earn a little money by leasing this fleet to other commercial operators. Later, Aero Asia obtained four BAC 1-11 aircraft on lease purchase option from Tarom, the national airline of Romania. The airline, in its initial years, made serious commitments to training its locally-hired staff, following the example of PIA and in line with requirements of the local civil aviation authority. A small training school was also founded, for training of cabin crew. Former Pakistan Airforce pilots were recruited, who began flying as co-pilots with the Romanian Pilots. In 1994 Aero Asia took the usual step for a private airline in Pakistan by recruitment of batch of trainees for aircraft maintenance, announcing that a fully-functional aircraft maintenance facility was planned. Senior retired staff from the PIA training center were employed and approval of the training school from the local civil aviation authority was sought. Aero Asia started its international operation on a route to Bishkek, in Central Asia. For this purpose another aircraft from the VIP fleet of Romania, a Boeing 707 aircraft was leased. The move to shift international operations to central Asian ex-USSR states was supposed to help the other businesses of Tabani Group in penetrating the countries. Later, Aero Asia started flying to the Gulf Emirate of Sharjah, linking to Dubai via road network. It also established a small maintenance facility in Sharjah Airport Free Zone by taking over a small aircraft hangar and offering services to third parties. Aero Asia operated a fleet of three to five Yakovlev Yak-42D on main trunk routes in Pakistan. These were mainly Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore. However, as demand rose through the years, the airline replaced its YAK-42Ds with Boeing 737-200Adv and Douglas DC-9s. The airline also introduced a more modern livery instead of having the colours of a past operator of the aircraft on its fuselage. A large "Aero Asia" was added to the front fuselage in bold red colour with the airline logo in between the words and on the tail. Template:Fact
At the start of 2006, Aero Asia and Askari Bank MasterCard announced their strategic alliance to offer their card members special discounts. On May 22, 2006 the Civil Aviation Authority stopped all Aero Asia flights as it was owed millions of Rupees. The management of the airline were pre-informed about the CAA decision and the ban would remain imposed until further orders by the aviation regulators.
On June 12, 2006 a United Kingdom-based company acquired Aero Asia from its original owners, Tabani Group. The Group belongs to people of Pakistani,Kashmiri descent, with headquarters in Karachi and Yorkshire. The brand has a presence in Pakistan, United States, and United Kingdom. The airline is currently in the process of being rebranded and restructured. Template:Fact.
In May 2007 the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of Pakistan suspended the operations of Aero Asia due to issues related to the safety of operations and passenger convenience. The problems had been highlighted to the management of Aero Asia time and again but the situation, instead of improving, deteriorated. The airline announced that it had decided to suspend operations temporarily with effect from 19 May 2007 until further notice.
Aero Asia International holds the following routes:
- Faislabad - Faisalabad International Airport
- Islamabad - Islamabad International Airport
- Karachi - Jinnah International Airport
- Lahore - Allama Iqbal International Airport
- Multan - Multan International Airport
- Peshawar - Peshawar International Airport
- Sukkur - Sukkur Airport
- Abu Dhabi - Abu Dhabi International Airport
- Al Ain - Al Ain International Airport
- Doha - Doha International Airport
- Dubai - Dubai International Airport
- Muscat - Seeb International Airport
- Bishkek - Manas International Airport
- Sharjah - Sharjah International Airport
The company returned the aircraft being operated on 19 May 2007 under wet lease arrangements to the lessors and is now negotiating to acquire a fleet of five 737-300 aircraft under funding arrangements concordant with the 2007 Draft National Aviation Policy for Pakistan.
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