A mile stone in the aviation history

June 12 - 18, 2006

It was really a pleasant to watch the top brass of the two companies operating in the same field were sitting together to enter into a joint venture to serve the cause of aviation in Pakistan.

Generally speaking, the spirit of co-existence for a common cause is a rare sight in our society as the people working in the same business usually become undeclared rivals on the back of a clash of interest.

However, in the case of Air Blue and JS Air it was a different story as the two have decided to hit a common goal by supplementing to each other's.

In fact, this is the time to infuse the spirit of coordination among various economic forces, which can do magic in achieving the national targets however before moving towards that direction we ought to decided our national priorities as well by developing a consensus among the people.

Coming back to the joint venture between Airblue and JS Air, which would help Gwadar, the upcoming economic hub in Balochistan and the second port city of the country, to receive a daily commuter flight from June 17.

Obviously this commuter flight called as socio-economic flight is being introduced jointly by Arielle and JS Air under a joint venture arrangement signed last week.

Actually, JS (Jehangir Siddiqui) Air and Airblue have announced the launch of their collaborated efforts of commuter services on socio-economic routes in the country which would be expanded to Sukkur, Turbat and other destinations in Northern areas of the country.

Shahid Khakan Abbasi, the Chief Operating Officer of the Airblue who was also present on the launching ceremony, however disagreed with the word "socio" as he feels it's a revenue generating and profit route especially in view of the economic activities which are gaining pace with every passing day.

Air Commodore (Retd) Munnawar Alam Siddiqui, Chairman JS Air while speaking on the occasion observed that this in itself was a very important occasion in the aviation history of Pakistan as such a joint venture had never taken place between any two-air operators.

He also indicated that number of flights on this route would soon be increased with the addition of several other short haul destinations.

The two airliners share a joint vision of connecting the socio-economic areas to the bigger cities of the country.

Air Commodore (Retd) Rizwan Yusuf, CEO JS Air explained that JS Air is a recently launched charter aircraft company by Jehangir Siddiqui (JS) group, which is one of Pakistan's most diversified and progressive financial services groups. Ms. Nadia Siddiqui, Group Head of Corporate Communications at JS Group was also present on the occasion.

The core business of JS group is JS finance, which operates market-leading companies in asset management, investment banking, and insurance and trade finance. The group also includes five vertical businesses including JS Industrial, JS Infocom, JS property, JS Resources and JS Transportation. JS Air is a regional air charter business established to serve relatively low passenger-volume routes for commercial airlines as well as providing executive charter services to the oil and gas industry and other leading business.

The commuter flight between Karachi and Gawadar is being launched with two Beech 1900c craft acquired from a US company. They indicated that more aircraft of the same make would be joining later with the addition of new destinations.

Airblue, the partner in this commuter service operations, is also celebrating its second anniversary on June 18 which has grown to a respectable market share holder and has risen from two aircraft to 5 into its fleet comprised of the most modern ones including A320 and A 321 aircraft. It is the fastest growing domestic airline in Pakistan, which offers business and economy seating at competitive rates. Today, Airblue operating 24 flights daily on the routes including Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore, Quetta, Peshawar and Faisalabad.

Airblue had gone international by flying to Dubai last year to mark its first anniversary celebrations. This newly born airline is actively finalizing plans to operate additional long haul routes both on UK and Indian soils probably in November or December this year.

It may be mentioned that Airblue has recently placed a $790million order with Airbus to purchase 10 additional aircraft with deliveries commencing in 2008.

Airblue has also announced commencement of operation on Karachi-Gwadar-Karachi sector from June 17. Initially there would be 6 flights a week operated by JSAir Beechcraft 1900 aircraft.

One month after the commencement of operation on Gwadar Sector, airblue is also planning to introduce a second frequency on Gwadar route to operate in the afternoon. The government has designated Airblue as the second national carrier and efforts are underway to launch daily flights to Manchester from December 2006, Airblue chief disclosed in the sidelines of the signing ceremony held at Hotel Pearl Continental.