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. Airblue operates scheduled flights linking Pakistani domestic destinations with international destinations in Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
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. The airline was inaugurated by Zafarullah Khan Jamali (the Prime Minister of Pakistan then).
During the first year the airline became very popular, 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%. This allowed the airline to expand into more cities in Pakistan including Peshawar, Quetta and Nawabshah. On 14 August 2005 Airblue launched its first international flight from Karachi to Dubai. On June 4, 2007, Airblue launched its inaugural flight to Manchester using the Airbus A321. There were plans to launch flights from Lahore to London Stansted in 2014.
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 using Sabiha Gokcen Airport, with full traffic rights to from Pakistan and Manchester.
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.
Airblue serves the following destinations as of August 2016, the list also includes former routes.
|Oman||Muscat||Muscat International Airport|||
|Pakistan||Faislabad||Faisalabad International Airport||Terminated|||
|Pakistan||Gwadar||Gwadar International Airport||Terminated|||
|Pakistan||Islamabad||Benazir Bhutto International Airport||Focus City|||
|Pakistan||Karachi||Jinnah International Airport||Hub|||
|Pakistan||Lahore||Allama Iqbal International Airport||Focus City|||
|Pakistan||Multan||Multan International Airport|||
|Pakistan||Peshawar||Bacha Khan International Airport|||
|Pakistan||Quetta||Quetta International Airport||Terminated|||
|Pakistan||Rahim Yar Khan||Shaikh Zayed International Airport|||
|Pakistan||Sialkot||Sialkot International Airport|||
|Saudi Arabia||Dammam||King Fahd International Airport|||
|Saudi Arabia||Jeddah||King Abdulaziz International Airport||Focus City|||
|Saudi Arabia||Medina||Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz Airport|||
|Saudi Arabia||Riyadh||King Khalid International Airport|||
|Turkey||Istanbul||Sabiha Gokcen International Airport||Terminated|||
|United Arab Emirates||Abu Dhabi||Abu Dhabi International Airport||Focus City|||
|United Arab Emirates||Dubai||Dubai International Airport||Focus City|||
|United Arab Emirates||Sharjah||Sharjah International Airport|||
|United Kingdom||Birmingham||Birmingham Airport||Terminated|||
|United Kingdom||Manchester||Manchester Airport||Terminated|||
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.
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.
Airblue inaugurated its own premium lounge at Jinnah International Airport, Karachi in November 2008. It has since been closed. 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.
Airblue has launched e-Cargo service to cater to air freight markets of Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. 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.
As of August 2017 the Airblue fleet consists of the following aircraft:
Media related to Airblue at Wikimedia Commons