AIRBLUE CONTRIBUTES 49.28 PERCENT MARKET GROWTH FOR PAKISTAN

AMANULLAH BASHAR
June 16 - 22, 2008

Airblue, Pakistan's fastest growing airlines operation to Manchester which completed one year on May 31, 2008 contributed to a market growth of 49.28 % on the Islamabad-Manchester sector.

According to the figures provided by Manchester Airport Authority, the market size increased by 49.28 % during the period from June 2007 to May 2008. airblue carried a record number of 84,383 passengers during this period, which was 37.97 % of the market.

To celebrate the completion of one year of successful operations to Pakistan from Manchester and record its outstanding performance, airblue invited the leading travel agents, media persons, commercially important personalities, representative of various organizations , government official, Mr. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi "CEO airblue ,Syed Nasir Ali " MD airblue, and the Counsel General of Pakistan for Manchester Mr Masroor Junejo also attended the celebration event.

Airblue festivities continued at Manchester Airport with cake cutting ceremony followed by awarding a free return airblue ticket to Manchester to a lucky passenger Mrs Rehna Khan through a computer ballot. The ticket was presented to the lucky winner by Ms. Janet Senior, Terminal Duty Manager, Manchester International airport.

Airblue free return ticket winner Mrs Rehna Khan, a resident of Huddersfield, was very happy at this occasion, she further expressed that by profession she is a doctor and traveling to Pakistan (Peshawar) for a noble cause. The purpose of her visit will be providing training to doctors at Khyber Institute of Ophthalmic Medicine and exchanging information.

She was extremely satisfied with the on line reservation system of airblue, call center response/help and services at the airport. She praised airblue and the staff and rated the automated services of the carrier amongst the world finest airlines.

At Islamabad International Airport airblue rewarded a free ticket to the first passenger to board the Manchester flight on June 01, 2008.Mr Yahiya Khan was the lucky winner.

Airblue started its Manchester operations on June 1, 2007 with 4 direct flights a week from Islamabad. airblue got a very positive response from the passenger and increased its number of flights from 4 a week to daily direct flights. In a span of one year airblue operated 570 Islamabad-Manchester-Islamabad flights and carried a load of 84383 between Islamabad and Manchester.

Over the past four years, airblue has grown to be the largest private airline in Pakistan, introducing innovations for greater customer convenience such as e-ticketing, wireless mobile check-in and self check-in kiosks.

Airblue, currently has the youngest fleet in Pakistan and with 3 A320 and 3 A321 aircraft operate flights to 6 major domestic cities in Pakistan; and 3 daily flights to Dubai from Karachi, Lahore , Islamabad and Peshawar, as well as a daily Flight between Manchester and Islamabad.

Future expansion plans of airblue include induction of 14 new airbus A320 aircraft in its fleet and flights to UK, Scandinavia, Gulf, Middle East, India, and Bangladesh.

RECORD SALES

Airblue, Pakistan's most innovative airline that had pioneered e-tickets in the local market, today registered another aviation first through record-breaking sales and unprecedented bookings reservations by customers purchasing tickets through the internet.

Fifty percent of airblue's Pakistan rupees daily sales of nearly Rs 20million yesterday were direct sales where the passenger brought their tickets directly from the website, not using the traditional method of purchase through the travel agent. This is for the first time in Pakistan the airline tickets have been sold in such large numbers through internet.

Airblue had started promoting user-friendly and dynamic website sales directly to the passengers to help contain costs of the airline ticket when the fuel price had recorded an enhancement of prices to Rs. 85 per liter.

Pakistan's youngest private airline had decided not to increase fares to burden the passengers but to absorb the rise in fuel prices through various in-house measures. One such measures included the reduction of commission of their business associates, the travel agents, by 2 to 3%. The travel agents in turn had announced to boycott the sale of airblue tickets.

The Managing Director of airblue, Syed Nasir Ali stated that the passengers had warmly welcomed the lower fares by steady increase in sales on the website at an average of 15% per day since the TAAP boycott. This is an increase of 160% as compared to June 2007. This phenomenal increase is due to large number of consumer base finding it convenient to buy tickets online as and when they want and avail fabulous discounts.

Currently there are around 12 Million internet users in Pakistan, which is 7.2% of the country's population. There has been a tremendous increase in the number of internet users which is supplementing our business model and distribution strategy.

Mr Nasir Ai further elaborated that direct sales in city and airport ticketing offices has increased to 35% at an average per day. This is an increase of 78% as compared to June 2007

The MD airblue added that as part of the aggressive distribution strategy, Airblue has opened city and airport sales offices in all the major cities of Pakistan, where passengers can go and avail huge discounts on tickets. The airline had record level sale in May 2008 making it the best month for airblue.

On June 18, airblue will complete four years of operation and during this period has grown to become the second-largest airline in Pakistan, introducing innovations in customer convenience such as e-ticketing, wireless mobile check-in, and self check-in kiosks.