Last updated

Airblue Logo.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
Commenced operations18 June 2004
Hubs Jinnah International Airport (Karachi)
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer program Blue Miles
Fleet size8
Headquarters Islamabad Stock Exchange Towers
Islamabad, Pakistan
Key people
  • Tariq Chaudhary (CEO)

Airblue Limited (styled as airblue) is a private Pakistani low-cost airline with its head office on the 12th floor of the Islamabad Stock Exchange (ISE) Towers in Islamabad, Pakistan. [1] Airblue operates scheduled domestic and international flights to Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The private sector is the part of the economy, sometimes referred to as the citizen sector, which is run by private individuals or groups, usually as a means of enterprise for profit, and is not controlled by the State.

Islamabad Stock Exchange Tower

The Islamabad Stock Exchange Towers are one of the highrises located at 55, Jinnah Avenue of the Blue Area business district of Islamabad.

Oman Arab country in Western Asia

Oman, officially the Sultanate of Oman, is an Arab country on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. Its official religion is Islam.



The airline was established in 2003 and started operations on 18 June 2004 with three leased Airbus A320-200 aircraft serving Karachi–Lahore and Karachi–Islamabad with three daily flights in each direction. [2] The airline was inaugurated in 2004 by Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali.

Airbus A320 family Airliner family

The Airbus A320 family consists of short- to medium-range, narrow-body, commercial passenger twin-engine jet airliners manufactured by Airbus. The family includes the A318, A319, A320 and A321, as well as the ACJ business jet. The A320s are also named A320ceo following the introduction of the A320neo. Final assembly of the family takes place in Toulouse, France, and Hamburg, Germany. A plant in Tianjin, China, has also been producing aircraft for Chinese airlines since 2009, while a final assembly facility in Mobile, Alabama, United States, delivered its first A321 in April 2016. The aircraft family can accommodate up to 236 passengers and has a range of 3,100 to 12,000 km, depending on model.

Zafarullah Khan Jamali Pakistani field hockey player and politician

Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali is a Pakistani politician who served as the 15th Prime Minister of Pakistan from 2002 until his resignation in 2004.

Airblue Airbus A320-200 Airbus A320-214, Airblue AN2243785.jpg
Airblue Airbus A320-200
A now retired former Airblue Airbus A340-300 AIrBlue A340-300 AP-EDE IST 27-Nov-2012.jpg
A now retired former Airblue Airbus A340-300

During the first year the airline became very popular, [3] which allowed the airline to compete directly with the flag carrier Pakistan International Airlines and the two other private carriers, flying more than 400,000 passengers in the first year with a load factor of over 90%. [4] This allowed the airline to expand into more cities in Pakistan including Peshawar, Quetta and Nawabshah. [2]

Pakistan International Airlines commonly referred by PIA is the national flag carrier of Pakistan. Its main hub is Karachi's Jinnah International Airport while Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore and Islamabad's New Islamabad International Airport serve as secondary hubs.

Passenger load factor, or load factor, measures the capacity utilization of public transport services like airlines, passenger railways, and intercity bus services. It is generally used to assess how efficiently a transport provider fills seats and generates fare revenue.

Peshawar City district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan

Peshawar is the capital of the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Situated in the broad Valley of Peshawar near the eastern end of the historic Khyber Pass, close to the border with Afghanistan, Peshawar's recorded history dates back to at least 539 BCE, making it the oldest city in Pakistan and one of the oldest cities in the world. Peshawar was the capital of the ancient Kushan Empire, and was home to what may have been the tallest building in the ancient world, the Kanishka stupa. Peshawar was then sacked by the White Huns, before the arrival of Muslim empires. The city was an important trading centre during the Mughal era before serving as the winter capital of the Afghan Durrani Empire from 1757 until the city was captured by the Sikhs in 1818, who were then followed by the British in 1849.

On 14 August 2005 Airblue launched its first international flight from Karachi to Dubai. [2] On June 4, 2007, Airblue launched its inaugural flight to Manchester using the Airbus A321. [5]

Dubai Metropolis in United Arab Emirates

Dubai is the largest and most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). On the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf, it is the capital of the Emirate of Dubai, one of the seven emirates that make up the country.

Airbus A321 Airliner, stretched series of the A320 family

The Airbus A321 is a member of the Airbus A320 family of short- to medium-range, narrow-body, commercial passenger twin-engine jet airliners manufactured by Airbus. It was the first derivative of the baseline Airbus A320 aircraft. It represents a stretched-fuselage variant of the Airbus A320 and entered service in 1994 with Lufthansa, around six years after the original A320. The aircraft shares a common type rating with all other Airbus A320 family variants, allowing existing A320 family pilots to fly the aircraft without the need for further training.

Airblue changed its IATA code from ED to PA in June 2012, the new code originally belonged to the defunct and once iconic carrier Pan American World Airways. In 2011 the airline launched service to Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen Airport - a route which was ultimately terminated.

Pan American World Airways 1927-2017 airline in the United States, former primary international carrier

Pan American World Airways, originally founded as Pan American Airways and commonly known as Pan Am, was the principal and largest international air carrier and unofficial flag carrier of the United States from 1927 until its collapse on December 4, 1991. It was founded in 1927 as a scheduled air mail and passenger service operating between Key West, Florida and Havana, Cuba. The airline is credited for many innovations that shaped the international airline industry, including the widespread use of jet aircraft, jumbo jets, and computerized reservation systems. It was also a founding member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the global airline industry association.

In June 2012, Airblue finalised an agreement to acquire one Airbus A320 and two leased A340-300s for existing and new international routes. It was also looking at various types of turboprop aircraft for new domestic routes but this plan was eventually dropped. The A340s joined the fleet in October 2012, enabling the airline to strengthen its Manchester route with nonstop flights as well as launch a second UK destination Birmingham in September 2013, and connect both stations with Lahore. The A340s later also flew to the Middle East. Technical issues related to the aircraft eventually led to them being phased out by January 2014; they had been leased for a five-year term. UK operations also ended with Birmingham being dropped after just three months' service and Manchester ending in January 2014.

Airbus A340 Four engine wide-body jet airliner

The Airbus A340 is a long-range, four-engine, wide-body commercial passenger jet airliner that was developed and produced by the European aerospace company Airbus. The A340 was assembled in Toulouse, France. It seats up to 375 passengers in the standard variants and 440 in the stretched -600 series. Depending on the model, it has a range of 6,700 to 9,000 nautical miles. Its distinguishing features are four high-bypass turbofan engines and three leg main landing gear.

Birmingham City in the English Midlands, 2nd highest population of UK cities

Birmingham is the second-most populous city in the United Kingdom, after London, and the most populous city in the English Midlands. With an estimated population of 1,137,100 as of 2017, Birmingham is the cultural, social, financial and commercial centre of the Midlands. It is the main centre of the West Midlands conurbation, which is the third most populated urban area in the United Kingdom, with a population in 2011 of 2,440,986. The wider Birmingham metropolitan area is the second largest in the United Kingdom with a population of over 3.7 million. Birmingham is frequently referred to as the United Kingdom's "second city".


Islamabad Stock Exchange Towers, Airblue's headquarters Building Ise building2.png
Islamabad Stock Exchange Towers, Airblue's headquarters Building

Airblue serves the following destinations as of August 2018, [6] the list also includes former routes.

Oman Muscat Muscat International Airport Terminated [7]
Pakistan Faislabad Faisalabad International Airport Terminated [8]
Pakistan Gwadar Gwadar International Airport Terminated [9]
Pakistan Islamabad Islamabad International Airport Focus city [7]
Pakistan Karachi Jinnah International Airport Hub [7]
Pakistan Lahore Allama Iqbal International Airport Focus city [7]
Pakistan Multan Multan International Airport [7] [10]
Pakistan Peshawar Bacha Khan International Airport [7]
Pakistan Quetta Quetta International Airport Terminated [8]
Pakistan Rahim Yar Khan Shaikh Zayed International Airport Terminated [7]
Pakistan Sialkot Sialkot International Airport Terminated [7]
Saudi Arabia Dammam King Fahd International Airport Terminated [7]
Saudi Arabia Jeddah King Abdulaziz International Airport Focus city [7]
Saudi Arabia Medina Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz Airport Terminated [7]
Saudi Arabia Riyadh King Khalid International Airport [7]
Turkey Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport Terminated [11]
United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi International Airport Focus city [7]
United Arab Emirates Dubai Dubai International Airport Focus city [7]
United Arab Emirates Sharjah Sharjah International Airport [7]
United Kingdom Birmingham Birmingham Airport Terminated [12]
United Kingdom Manchester Manchester Airport Terminated [13]



Interior of an Airblue Airbus A320-200 Airbus A320-231, Airblue AN1210295.jpg
Interior of an Airblue Airbus A320-200

All aircraft in the fleet have a 3-by-3 layout in an all economy cabin; and have overhead video screens. Airblue formerly had a business class section, but dropped it due to exogenous economic factors.


Airblue was the first airline in Pakistan to introduce e-ticketing, wireless check-in and self check-in kiosk facilities. The airline also uses Sabre, a ticket distribution system.

Frequent flyer program

The Airblue frequent flyer program is called "Blue Miles". Passengers are able to initially start on the base level where sign up is free. Once passengers earn enough miles, there are upgrades to the Blue Card followed by the Platinum Card. In May 2009, the airline formed an alliance with Faysal Bank to offer credit cards. [14]


Airblue inaugurated its own premium lounge at Jinnah International Airport, Karachi in November 2008. It has since been closed.[ when? ] Named the Blue Lounge International, it was designed for business class passengers, credit card holders and privileged customers. The lounge offered Internet facilities, cable television, newspapers and magazines, massage chairs and a snack bar. It was located in the international terminal of the airport.[ citation needed ]

Cargo operations

Airblue has launched e-Cargo service to cater to air freight markets of Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. [15] 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 Web.


Current fleet

Airblue Airbus A321-200 AP-BJA Airbus A.321 Air Blue (7608388764).jpg
Airblue Airbus A321-200

As of August 2017 the Airblue fleet consists of the following aircraft: [16]

Airblue Fleet
Airbus A320-200 3180
Airbus A321-200 5220

Previously operated

Airbus A319-100 20082014
Airbus A330-200 [17] 20152016
Airbus A340-300 20122014
ATR 72-600 [18] 20152015

Accidents and incidents

See also

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China Airlines (CAL) is the national carrier of Taiwan and its largest airline. It is headquartered in Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and operates over 1400 flights weekly to 102 cities across Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania. Carrying over 19 million passengers and 5700 tons of cargo in 2017, the carrier was the 33rd and 10th largest airline in the world in terms of passenger revenue per kilometer (RPK) and freight RPK, respectively. China Airlines has three airline subsidiaries: China Airlines Cargo, a member of Skyteam Cargo, operates a fleet of freighter aircraft and manages its parent airline's cargo-hold capacity; Mandarin Airlines operates flights to domestic and low-demand regional destinations; Tigerair Taiwan is a low-cost carrier established by China Airlines and Singaporean airline group Tigerair Holdings, but is now wholly owned by China Airlines Group.

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Allama Iqbal International Airport civil airport in Pakistan

Allama Iqbal International Airport is the third largest civil airport by traffic in Pakistan, serving Lahore, the capital of Punjab province as well a large portion of the travellers from the Punjab province. Originally known as Lahore International Airport, it was renamed after Allama Iqbal, one of the pioneers that led to the creation of Pakistan.

Benazir Bhutto International Airport defunct airport, formerly serving the Islamabad-Rawalpindi metropolitan area; was the 2nd-largest airport by air traffic in Pakistan; replaced by the new Islamabad International Airport on 3 May 2018

Benazir Bhutto International Airport is a defunct airport which formerly served the Islamabad-Rawalpindi metropolitan area. It was the second-largest airport by air traffic in Pakistan, until 3 May 2018 when it was replaced by the new Islamabad International Airport. Previously also known as the Islamabad International Airport, it was renamed after the late Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto in June 2008. The airport handled 4,767,860 passengers between 2015–16, compared to 3,803,060 in 2012-13.

Addis Ababa Bole International Airport international airport serving Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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Bhoja Air airline

Bhoja Air was a Pakistani airline based in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan.


FITS Aviation (Pvt) Limited, DBA FitsAir, is a Sri Lankan airline. It operates scheduled passenger service within Sri Lanka, as well as international cargo flights to several cities in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.

Bandaranaike International Airport international airport

Bandaranaike International Airport, colloquially known as Katunayake Airport and Colombo International Airport, is the main international airport serving Sri Lanka. It is named after former Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike and is located in a suburb of Negombo, 20 miles (32.5 km) north of the commercial capital Colombo. It is administered by Airport and Aviation Services Ltd and serves as the hub of SriLankan Airlines, the national carrier of Sri Lanka, and domestic carrier Cinnamon Air. The other airport serving the city of Colombo is the Ratmalana Airport, primarily serving domestic destinations.

Faisalabad International Airport airport in the Punjab province of Pakistan

Faisalabad International Airport is an international airport and standby Pakistan Air Force military base situated on Jhang Road, 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) southwest of the city centre of Faisalabad, in the Punjab province of Pakistan.

Bacha Khan International Airport airport

Bacha Khan International Airport, previously called Peshawar International Airport, is an international airport located in the city of Peshawar in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. Located about a 10-minute drive from the centre of Peshawar, it is the fourth busiest airport in Pakistan. One unusual feature is that one end of the main runway is crossed by a railway line – the seldom-used Khyber train safari to Landi Kotal in the Khyber Pass. The airport was renamed on 27 January 2012 after Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, a Pashtun nationalist political leader. It was reconstructed in 2016 to 2018

Multan International Airport Airport near Multan, Punjab, Pakistan

Multan International Airport is an international airport located 4 km west of Multan, Pakistan. The airport is southern Punjab's largest and busiest airport. Multan International Airport offers flights throughout Pakistan, as well as direct flights to Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Quetta International Airport airport in Pakistan

Quetta International Airport ;(IATA: UET, ICAO: OPQT) is located at Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan, Pakistan. The airport is the fourth highest airport in Pakistan. It is second largest airport in the south region of the country and the largest for the province of Balochistan. It is situated 12 km south-west of the city spread over an area of 35 acres (14 ha). Average scheduled flights were 1332, non-scheduled flights 247, and the total recorded passenger flow was 152,698 in 2007.

Gwadar International Airport Airport in Pakistan

Gwadar International Airport is an international airport situated 14 km north of the city centre of Gwadar, in the Balochistan province of Pakistan.

Pakistan Airways was a short-lived cargo airline based at Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan. The airline was operational from 2005 to 2006, using a single Ilyushin Il-76 cargo aircraft for flights between Pakistan and Dubai.

Islamabad International Airport the main international airport serving the Islamabad-Rawalpindi metropolitan area, 20 km outside them near the Kashmir Highway and Motorway Interchange

Islamabad International Airport ; IATA: ISB, ICAO: OPIS) is the main international airport serving the Islamabad-Rawalpindi metropolitan area and suburbs. It is Pakistan's 2nd largest airport, after Karachi, having served 4,777,958 passengers in the year of 2017-2018. It is Pakistan's second greenfield airport, after Sialkot International Airport and is built 20 km outside the twin cities near the Kashmir Highway and Motorway Interchange.

Jinnah International Airport International airport of Pakistan

Jinnah International Airport is Pakistan's busiest international and domestic airport, and handled 6,697,073 passengers in 2017-2018. Located in Karachi, the largest city of Pakistan and capital of the province of Sindh, it is named after Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.

Airblue Flight 202 2010 crash of an Airblue A321-231 near Islamabad, Pakistan, killing 152

Airblue Flight 202 was a scheduled domestic passenger flight which crashed on 28 July 2010 near Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, killing all 146 passengers and six crew on board. It is the deadliest air accident to occur in Pakistan to date. The aircraft, an Airblue operated Airbus A321-231 narrow-body jet airliner, crashed in the Margalla Hills north of Islamabad during a flight from Karachi's Jinnah International Airport to Benazir Bhutto International Airport. Air traffic controllers lost contact with the flight crew during its attempt to land in dense fog and heavy monsoon rain.

Shaheen Air airline

Shaheen Air was a private Pakistani airline with its head office at Jinnah International Airport in Karachi and is owned by the Khalid Shehbai family and originally established by the Shaheen Foundation. Shaheen Air was providing passenger, cargo and charter services, to major cities in Pakistan and the Middle East. It suspended all operations in October 2018.



  1. "Contacting Us Archived 2010-07-29 at the Wayback Machine ." Airblue. Retrieved on 28 July 2010. "Airblue Limited (Corporate Headquarters) 12th Floor, ISE Towers 55-B Jinnah Avenue Islamabad 111-247-258."
  2. 1 2 3 Schmitz 2006, p. 57.
  3. "Pakistan’s popular private airline AirBlue to begin Flights to UK in May" Pakistan Times, Printed Jan 28, 2007
  4. Schmitz 2006, p. 58.
  5. "AirBlue Begins Pakistan-UK Flights from June 1". Archived from the original on 2010-01-02. Retrieved 2009-12-30.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 "Airblue schedule". Archived from the original on 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2012-11-28.
  7. 1 2 Airblue former map
  8. Air Gwadar service
  9. Airblue ATR72 service advertisement
  10. Airbue launch Istanbul
  11. "Air Blue suspends Birmingham to Pakistan flights". BBC News. 21 November 2013. Archived from the original on 19 February 2015.
  12. "Airblue Cancels Islamabad – Manchester Service from late-January 2014". Routes Online. 20 January 2014. Archived from the original on 19 November 2016.
  13. "Promotional Campaign Launched". Archived from the original on 2010-01-02. Retrieved 2009-12-30.
  14. Airblue e-Cargo
  15. "Global Airline Guide 2017 (Part Two)". Airliner World (November 2017): 28.
  16. Airblue wetleases Ukrainian A330
  17. "Crash: AirBlue A321 near Islamabad on Jul 28th 2010, impacted mountaineous [sic] terrain near the airport". The Aviation Herald. Retrieved 28 December 2011.


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