AIRBLUE EXPANDING OPERATIONS
Inducts two newly acquired A321 aircraft
By AMANULLAH BASHAR
Feb 13 - 19, 2006
Air traffic has registered an impressive growth of 35 percent in the aviation industry of Pakistan. This robust growth speaks about the depth and appetite of the market besides scope for brisk economic activity and investment in the aviation sector.
This was stated by Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the Chief Operating Officer of Airblue to mark the induction of two newly acquired A321 aircraft in the fast emerging airline in the private sector.
This induction of the two newly acquired aircraft on dry lease will help Airblue, the next generation airline, in the expansion of its flight operations as well as destinations both on national and international routes.
Last week, Airblue arranged a one-hour demonstration flight with a team of media on board to display airworthiness, quality of services and of course the professional dynamism of the cabinet crew.
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was visibly a happy CEO on the performance and the impressive results achieved in a short span of 18 months. He expressed the hope that Airblue is bound to be the airline of choice for a vast majority of the air travelers on the back of its punctuality, reliability and quality services being offered by its staff equipped with skill and high proficiency in their respective areas.
The success story of the youngest airline in Pakistan portrays the significant role of Airblue contributing over Rs6 billion to the economy, creating 600 job opportunities and an investment of $20 million during one-and-a-half years of its inception.
The arrival of Airblue in the field of aviation has generated a healthy competition amidst the contemporaries which are also improving services of their respective airlines, besides offering quality services at affordable prices to the passengers, he pointed out.
Supporting his statement that the aviation industry has posted a 35 percent growth in Pakistan, the Airblue CEO paid rich tributes to the economic policies and the decisions of the present team of the economic managers helping to achieve an economic turnaround for the first time in Pakistan. The growth in air traffic is in fact an extension and a trickle down effect of the overall economic growth.
He said that Airblue has introduced a daily flight for Quetta which was considered economically unviable that was the reason that no other airline initiated a daily flight on that route, however, Airblue was successfully operating on that route.
Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Syed Nasir Ali, Director Commercial told PAGE that Airblue had started its journey in a modest way by introducing Karachi-Lahore and Karachi-Islamabad flights. That modest start gradually but steadily continued to march with new destinations on its flying map.
At present the airline is operating 180 domestic and international flights a week. Of the total, 56 flights are international flights between Pakistan and Dubai - the economic hub of the Middle East.
Besides induction of two more A321 aircraft in its fleet, Airblue is acquiring two more wide bodied aircraft to include UK in its flight destinations within next three months. Hopefully, Airblue is likely to start its UK operations from next May. Nasir disclosed that he will be leaving for London in a couple of days to take stock of the market and other facilities. The government has already allowed 8 flights a week for the United Kingdom, however, the choice between London and Manchester airports has yet to be made, he observed.
Airblue is also intending to operate between India and Pakistan for which a request has already been moved by the management. He expressed the hope that allowing the private sector airlines to operate between India and Pakistan is bound to open a flood gate for air traffic between the two countries on the back of huge market size of India, the balance will naturally tilt in favor of Pakistan, he observed.
Airblue has already accomplished the spade work for listing itself with the Karachi Stock Exchange for Initial Public Offering (IPO). Naturally, the funds raised through capital market would help the airline not only expand its operations but also give a real sense of corporate culture in this private airline. Jehangir Siddiqi & Co has been appointed as the consultants for conducting the IPO, he disclosed. Nasir was confident that it would be bumper offer to the investors and hopefully attract the investors at a massive scale on the back of the financial performance of the airline.
FEMALE STAFF PRODUCES RESULTS
Syed Nasir Ali said that Airblue believes in offering equal opportunities to both the genders which is reflected in the female staff numbering 250 out of the total strength of 600 staffers associated with Airblue.
In fact, female staffers are comparatively more responsible and produce better results as compared to their male counterparts. He appreciated the liberal policy of the present government for encouraging the womenfolk in different walks of life. So far this potential human resource which comprised over 50 percent of the total population was sitting idle in society. The presence of womenfolk helps generate a decent environment in the offices, he observed.