Air Blue UK operations to dawn new era in Pak's aviation

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basit_s
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Air Blue UK operations to dawn new era in Pak's aviation

Post by basit_s »

Air Blue UK operations to dawn new era in Pakistan's aviation

IQBAL MIRZA

KARACHI (August 26 2005):
A new era in Pakistan's aviation would dawn with the launch of Air Blue operations to the United Kingdom from November 1. The airline, which is the youngest among the three private airlines, presently operating on domestic routes and to Dubai has finalised plans to fly out to destinations in the United Kingdom.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had granted additional routes/frequencies to Pakistani private airlines on July 27 and allocated eight flights to Air Blue. The airline has planned to utilise this facility fully by operating four flights a week between Lahore and Manchester and the other four between Islamabad and London from November 1.

The fleet expansion plan drawn up by Air Blue envisages an investment of one billion US dollars on the acquisition of new generation aircraft. Under an agreement signed with Airbus Industry in Islamabad early this month, the aircraft manufacturers will deliver at least two Airbus A330-200 wide-body long range aircraft by mid October which will be pressed into service on UK route. Presently it is operating A320 aircraft.

Air Blue entered the international aviation arena when its maiden flight left for Dubai with full load on August 14.

"Our flights to Dubai are going with full load of passengers and belly cargo," Syed Nasir Ali, Director Operations, Air Blue told the Business Recorder here on Wednesday.

The A330-200 offers superior payload/range capability and greater cargo volume on medium-capacity routes to extended-range operations. The shortest-fuselage version of Airbus' A330-200 has an overall length of 59 meters (193 ft. 7 inches ), with a range of up to 6,400nm/11,800 km. The A330-200 typically carries 253 passengers in a first/business/economy class layout, while the aircraft's two class configuration seats 293 passengers.

The other two private airlines, Aero Asia and Shaheen Air International (SAI) does not seem to have any immediate plans of adding wide body long range aircraft to their fleets to be able to start non-stop operations to UK. Aero Asia has been allocated 12 and SAI four frequencies to UK. SAI is the only private airline, which has been allocated three frequencies to USA.

The range of their existing fleet is about four hours. In case they decide to start their operations with the existing equipment to UK, they will have to stop at least at two places in between. Aero Asia's fleet includes B 737-200, DC-9, MD-82 and MD-83 and SAI has three B-737-200. These are all short haul aircraft and according to aviation experts, only wide body long haul aircraft could bring profits to the private airlines.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has fixed June 30, 2008 as the cut off date. The unutilised international frequencies/routes would lapse after that date.

According to Pervez Ali Khan, Vice-Chairman, SAI, market research and feasibility studies for route expansion have been finalised. At present SAI is evaluating different aircraft in line with its operational and commercial requirements for each route.

In the first phase, he said SAI intend to operate to UK and USA by this winter and to serve that purpose it is considering various long haul, fuel efficient, wide bodies, modern and comfortable aircraft. The major part of the aircraft deal is expected to be finalised within the next two months.

SAI, at present, is the only airline, which is operating to Kuwait. It has further been allowed more frequencies to Kuwait from different cities in Pakistan.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2005
az inja boro. nemikham bebinamet dige toro.


behramjee
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Post by behramjee »

I am glad that they chose to fly LHE-MAN and ISB-LON first rather than from KHI. I too had suggested 4 weekly ISB-LON flights but 3 weekly LHE-MAN not 4. viewtopic.php?t=2688&highlight=suggestions+airblue
The airline has planned to utilise this facility fully by operating four flights a week between Lahore and Manchester and the other four between Islamabad and London from November 1.


Can someone please inform us which London Airport will see ED services?

Amaad Lone
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Post by Amaad Lone »

Under an agreement signed with Airbus Industry in Islamabad early this month, the aircraft manufacturers will deliver at least two Airbus A330-200 wide-body long range aircraft by mid October which will be pressed into service on UK route.
A mid october delivery is real fast.

Are these A330-200s brandnew custom made for Air Blue, or white tails which were manufactured for another airline and being delivered to Air Blue.

Any idea where Air Blue is getting its cockpit crew for the A330 operations?
P.I.A

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B777240ER
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Post by B777240ER »

ED is strong going into MAN from LHE with PK operating 6 weekly flights.

Also ED is going to go head to head with BA and PK on ISB-LHR route.

I would have thought LHE-LHR would be a better choice considering there is only one carrier on the route.

behramjee
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Post by behramjee »

ED is strong going into MAN from LHE with PK operating 6 weekly flights.
According to my understanding after talking to a few PIA staff in YYZ, PIA doesnt carry pax LHE-MAN-LHE if the flight continues on to IAH and YYZ and ORD from MAN...is this true or false?

Also LHE-MAN-LHE route has just 1 weekly terminator B 743 flight operating.

Yes on ISB-LHR they definitely will face fierce competition with BA too being part of the mix. This route will be the best to look at seeing how capable is the ED brand name in swaying pax away from BA and PIA.

ord
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Post by ord »

behramjee wrote:I am glad that they chose to fly LHE-MAN and ISB-LON first rather than from KHI.
Behramjee,

Don't you think a KHI-London service would be more successfull, as PIA only operates this route nonstop 1-2 times per week and I feel that there is a premium segment in this market that would pay more to fly KHI-London nonstop rather than through Abu Dhabi, Doha, etc.

I think a 4x weekly KHI-LON as opposed to ISB-LON would actually be higher yielding, bearing in mind that ISB ED will have to compete with two well-established carriers who have a lot of experience on this route and will have to compete aggressively if it is to lure up-market pax away from BA.

behramjee
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Post by behramjee »

Don't you think a KHI-London service would be more successfull, as PIA only operates this route nonstop 1-2 times per week and I feel that there is a premium segment in this market that would pay more to fly KHI-London nonstop rather than through Abu Dhabi, Doha, etc.
KHI-LON definitely does need to see more nonstop service but from KHI, Airblue would have to compete very aggressively against the Gulf carriers who are sponsored by their state govt's and can easily undercut ED anyday of the week if they really want to.

From LHE and ISB, there is less competition in terms of weekly frequencies via a Gulf airport hub to London as LHE and ISB do not fall under the open skies policy of KHI. This is the only concrete reason that I can come up with for ED giving Northern Pakistan-UK flights preference over KHI-LON.

Another possible reason is that in London you have 280,000 Pakistanis of which 75% come from Kashmiri and Punjabi origin hence the higher O&D demand from LON to LHE and ISB respectively rather than KHI.

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Post by Moin »

Ok, if they're planning to use the 2 A332's on 4 weekly flights to MAN and 4 weekly flights to LON, are these 2 a/c enough to cope with such a roster? They going to be cutting it really fine. These a/c will require ground time for maintenance as well and with that leaving 1 a/c in service, it certainly cannot cope with 8 weekly flights.

They could have at least gone with 3 A332's. That way each a/c could be alloted sufficient ground time, as well as the provision of an additional a/c should one suddenly develop a technical fault at the last minute saving them having to cancel a flight due to lack of a/c.

If they do ever intend on starting KHI-UK flights in addition to the above schedule (which seems highly unlikely seeing that they're only permitted 8 weekly flights) they would then require at least 4 A332's.
Moin Abbasi

saagir
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Post by saagir »

Why didn't they opt for 4x BHX-ISB instead.Birmingham and the surrounding areas have the highest Pakistani population outside the country.They only had PIA to compete with, which only offers just over 900 seats a week.One thing for sure i know which airline would be more desirable given the choice of flying on A310 or A330.Haven't we got enough flights from MAN already?

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B777240ER
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Post by B777240ER »

^ Or concentrating on the London market which is higher yeilding