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Airblue is a private airline based in Karachi, Pakistan. It is Pakistan's second largest airline with over 30% share of the domestic market.[1]. Airblue operates scheduled flights operating 30 daily services linking seven domestic destinations and international services to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Muscat and Manchester. It carried 1.4 million passengers on domestic flights in the 2006-07 fiscal year.[2] Its main base is Jinnah International Airport, Karachi. Airblue makes a fuel stop at Trabzon in Turkey when flying to and from Manchester. This route is the longest route operated by an Airbus A321 aircraft in the world, and the longest scheduled route operated by an Airbus narrowbody aircraft (excluding the Airbus A319LR).[3]

History Edit

The airline was established in 2003 and started operations on 18 June 2004 with 3 leased Airbus A320-200 aircraft serving Karachi-Lahore and Karachi-Islamabad with three daily flights in each direction. The airline was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shaukat Aziz.

During the first year the airline became very popular, which allowed the airline to compete directly with the flag carrier PIA and the two other private carriers. This allowed the airline to expand into more cities in Pakistan including Peshawar, Quetta and Nawabshah. On August 14, 2005 (Pakistan's 58th Independence Day) Airblue launched its first international flight from Karachi to Dubai

ServicesEdit

Airblue was the first airline in Pakistan to introduce e-ticketing, wireless check-in and self check-in kiosk facilities. The airline also became a member of Sabre system that is used by over a hundred airlines to help it with ticket automation services.

Self service check-inEdit

Leading the way with innovative new technology Airblue became the first airline in South Asia and only the second carrier in the region behind Emirates to introduce the latest self service check-in facilities at Jinnah International Airport, Karachi. The system allows passengers with baggage to obtain a boarding card through the touch screen menu without needing to report to the counter. Airblue plans to extend the self service check-in facilities to Lahore and Islamabad, and eventually to all cities on its network. 1

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One millionth passenger celebration Edit

On March 22, 2006, Airblue celebrated the completion of handling of one million passengers on Tuesday at Jinnah International Airport, Karachi. The passenger was Haroon Siddique

OnAir wins Airblue deal Edit

OnAir has announced an agreement with Airblue, Pakistan’s fastest growing airline, to launch Mobile OnAir voice and data services on up to 12 of its Airbus A320 aircraft beginning in 2009.

The announcement strengthens OnAir’s operations in the Middle East where OnAir has agreements with five airlines, which are planning to launch Mobile OnAir in 2009. Mobile OnAir will enable Airblue passengers to make and receive voice calls, send and receive text messages and emails, download attachments in real time and access critical information while flying. Passengers will access Mobile OnAir with their own mobile phones or BlackBerry-type devices, just like they do on the ground. Charges, set by mobile phone operators, will appear on passengers’ mobile phone bills at rates similar to overseas roaming charges.

Tariq Chaudhary, CEO of Airblue, commented: “Airblue embodies a new era in passenger air travel. With services such as e-ticketing, wireless mobile check-in and self check-in kiosks in airports, we are constantly bringing innovations to our passengers. Mobile OnAir will enable us to create pioneering services generating revenue inflight, such as new entertainment options. They will also help us enhance our customer relationship management programmes.”

“Airblue has become known as an innovator in the region, particularly with services designed to increase security, convenience and affordability for passengers,” said Benoit Debains, CEO of OnAir. “With Mobile OnAir, Airblue will have new opportunities to innovate and develop new services, while at the same time, generating new revenues.”

The Airblue launch comes amidst mounting demand for inflight passenger communications. A growing number of commercial airlines and private aviation companies either currently offer OnAir inflight communications services or plan to offer them in the near future. In addition to Jazeera Airways, Oman Air, Royal Jordanian and Wataniya Airways, all of which plan launches in 2009, this includes commercial airlines such as Air Asia, bmi, Ryanair, Shenzhen Airlines, TAP, Kingfisher and TAM. It also includes private aviation companies and VIP and government customers such Airbus Corporate Jets, Jet Aviation and Aviation Center Cologne.

Since December 2007, passengers have used Mobile OnAir services on flights to more than 46 cities in 24 countries in Europe and North Africa. According to a recent passenger survey, 80% of passengers who have used Mobile OnAir services on selected flights would like these services to be available on every flight.

Joint venture with JS Air Edit

To comply with Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulations the airline started operating on socio-economic routes by flying to Nawabshah in central Sindh however the service was soon suspended because of low passenger load factors and the unsuitability of the A320 aircraft for this route. The suspension meant that Airblue was not compliant with CAA regulations and therefore had to incur penalty fees. To overcome the issue of non-compliance Airblue entered into a joint venture with start-up charter airline JS Air to operate flights on its behalf on socio-economic routes. This represented the first time in Pakistani aviation history that 2 air operators entered into a joint venture arrangement. The first destination under this agreement was the port city of Gwadar which was connected to the Airblue network on 17 June and was served twice daily, except Fridays, from Karachi. The flights were operated using JS Air's 19 seater Beech 1900C aircraft which are specifically suited to serving low yield 'commuter' destinations. This service was also suspended in 2007 due to insufficient demand despite using suitable aircraft.

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Cargo Edit

Airblue have launched e-Cargo service to cater to air freight markets of Pakistan, UAE and UK. According to a press release, e-Cargo will broaden the base of cargo and permit certified agents to book freight directly online opening the inventory through the web and allowing more competitive prices, making the transportation of goods more affordable.

Cost cutting measuresEdit

To deal with the fuel price hike worldwide, Airblue are converting their fleet to all economy class. This will also be applied to their new aircraft which will be delivered starting in 2009. They are also ending full meal services and replacing it with sandwiches and pastries. In 2006 Airblue did away with chinaware crockery service for meals in economy class to cut costs and weight, replacing it with plasticware as per normal industry practice. Sometimes scheduled flights are also cancelled for cost cutting measure.All airblue domestic flights were cancelled on 10th,11th,12th Dec,2008 due to low passenegr load.It one of the the unique examples of airline cost cutting measure never ever adopted by any other airline in the world.

DestinationsEdit

Main article: Airblue destinations

In Spring/Summer 2009 Bahrain, Kuwait[1] and Kuala Lumpur [4] as well as Copenhagen and Oslo are planned to be started.

Future destinations include Bangkok, Birmingham, Delhi, Dhaka, Jeddah, London-Gatwick, Mumbai and Singapore, at home they plan to launch Multan and Sialkot.[5][2].

Catering & Ground handlingEdit

Airblue meals are catered by Gate Gourmet from their facility at Karachi Airport.Template:Fact.

Airblue is handled by Gerry's Dnata in Islamabad, Karachi, and Lahore. Swissport handle them at Peshawar.

FleetEdit

The Airblue fleet includes the following aircraft (as of 4 October 2008):[6]

Passenger Fleet
Type Total Passenger
(Economy)
Routes Notes
Airbus A319-100 2 144 Short, Medium, and Long haul exit from service 10th September, 09
Airbus A320-200 3 156 Short and Medium haul
Airbus A321-100 1 185 Short, Medium and Long haul
Airbus A321-231 2(14 orders) 185 Short, Medium and Long haul
Total 8 Updated: February 2009

Achievements and recognitions Edit

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ReferencesEdit

Additional references Edit

External linksEdit

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Template:Airlines of Pakistan Template:Aviation listsbr:Air Blue de:Airblue es:Airblue fr:Air Blue nl:Airblue pl:Air Blue pt:Air Blue

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