From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded2003; 20 years ago (2003)
Commenced operations18 June 2004; 19 years ago (2004-06-18)
HubsJinnah International Airport (Karachi)
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer programBlue Miles
Fleet size12
HeadquartersIslamabad Stock Exchange Towers
Islamabad-44000, Pakistan
Key people

Airblue Limited (stylized as airblue) is a private Pakistani airline with its head office on the ground floor of the Islamabad Stock Exchange (ISE) Towers in Islamabad, Pakistan.[1] Airblue operates scheduled domestic and international flights, the latter to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.


The airline was established in 2003 by Tariq Chaudhry, a Pakistani-American IT professional.[2] Airblue 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.[3] The airline was inaugurated in 2004 by Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali.

An Airblue Airbus A320-200 at Dubai International Airport
A now-retired Airblue Airbus A340-300 taking off from Istanbul Atatürk Airport after maintenance.

During the first year the airline became very popular,[4] 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%.[5] This allowed the airline to expand into more cities in Pakistan including Peshawar, Quetta and Nawabshah.[3]

On 14 August 2005 Airblue launched its first international flight from Karachi to Dubai.[3] On June 4, 2007, Airblue launched its inaugural flight to Manchester using the Airbus A321.[6]

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’s Sabiha Gokcen Airport - a route that was ultimately terminated.

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.


Islamabad Stock Exchange Towers - Airblue's headquarters

Airblue serves the following destinations as of August 2018,[7] the list also includes former routes.

Country City Airport Status Refs
 Oman Muscat Muscat International Airport Terminated [8]
 Pakistan Faisalabad Faisalabad International Airport Terminated [9]
Skardu Skardu International Airport [10]
Islamabad Islamabad International Airport Focus city [8]
Karachi Jinnah International Airport Hub [8]
Lahore Allama Iqbal International Airport Focus city [8]
Multan Multan International Airport [8][11]
Peshawar Bacha Khan International Airport [8]
Quetta Quetta International Airport [9]
Rahim Yar Khan Shaikh Zayed International Airport Terminated [8]
Sialkot Sialkot International Airport Terminated [8]
 Saudi Arabia Dammam King Fahd International Airport Terminated [8]
Jeddah King Abdulaziz International Airport Focus city [8]
Medina Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz Airport [8]
Riyadh King Khalid International Airport [8]
 Turkey Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport Terminated [12]
 United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi International Airport Focus city [8]
Dubai Dubai International Airport Focus city [8]
Sharjah Sharjah International Airport [8]
Ras Al Khaimah Ras Al Khaimah International Airport [8]
 United Kingdom Birmingham Birmingham Airport Terminated [13]
Manchester Manchester Airport Terminated [14]



The interior of an Airblue Airbus A320-200
The interior of an Airblue Airbus A321-200

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.


Airblue was the first airline in Pakistan to introduce e-ticketing, wireless check-in, and self-check-in kiosk facilities. The airline also uses Sabre, a ticket distribution system.

Frequent flyer program[edit]

The Airblue frequent flyer program is called "Blue Miles". Passengers start at 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 allied with Faysal Bank to offer credit cards.[15]


Airblue inaugurated its premium lounge at Jinnah International Airport, Karachi in November 2008. It has since been closed.[when?] 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.[citation needed]

Cargo operations[edit]

Airblue has launched an e-Cargo service to cater to air freight markets of Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.[16] 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.


Current fleet[edit]

Airblue Airbus A320-200 flying at Dubai International Airport on January 10, 2006.
Airblue Airbus A321-200 taking off from Manchester Airport on June 26, 2009. Note: This aircraft crashed into the Margalla Hills on July 28, 2010, killing all 146 passengers and 6 crew members.

As of December 2022, the Airblue fleet consists of the following aircraft.[17]

Aircraft In service Orders Passengers
Airbus A320-200 5
Airbus A321-200 5
Airbus A321neo 2
Total 12 0

Former fleet[edit]

Airblue Airbus A319 taxing at Dubai International Airport on April 26, 2012.
A now-retired Airblue Airbus A340-300 taking off from Istanbul Atatürk Airport after maintenance.
Airblue Airbus A321-200 leased from Windrose Airlines landing at Benazir Bhutto International Airport on 3 January 2016.
Aircraft Introduced Retired
Airbus A319-100 2008 2014
Airbus A330-200[18] 2015 2016
Airbus A340-300 2012 2014
ATR 72-600[19] 2015 2015

Accidents and incidents[edit]

Airblue Flight 202, registration AP-BJB crashed as on 28 July 2010. The aircraft is seen here at Manchester Airport on June 24, 2010, 1 month before.[20]
  • On July 28, 2010, Airblue Flight 202, flying a domestic route from Karachi to Islamabad with 146 passengers and 6 crew on board crashed into the Margalla Hills. The aircraft was on final approach to Benazir Bhutto International Airport during poor weather conditions when the aircraft impacted the Margalla Hills about 10 nm (18.52 km) north of the airport at an elevation of about 1,000 feet (300 m) above the city. Radio contact with the aircraft was lost at approx. 09:45 local time. All 152 passengers and crew on board the aircraft were killed in the crash.[21] The aircraft involved was an Airbus A321-200 registered as AP-BJB.
  • On 23 April 2019, an A320, registered AP-EDA and operating PA613 from Sharjah to Peshawar suffered a runway excursion on landing. The aircraft stopped beyond the end of the runway, but still on paved surface. No injuries were reported.[22]


Airblue currently has a partnership with PepsiCo.[23] Airblue had a contractual partnership with the Ukrainian Windrose Airlines for a three-year wet-lease of some Windrose aircraft. These aircraft carried the Windrose livery with Windrose crew and a mixture of Windrose and Airblue cabin crew. This wet-lease expired in 2016.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Contacting Us Archived 2010-07-29 at the Wayback Machine." Airblue. Retrieved on 28 July 2010. "Airblue Limited (Corporate Headquarters) Ground Floor, ISE Towers 55-B Jinnah Avenue Islamabad 111-247-258."
  2. ^ "Pakistan's AirBlue gets ready to go". Flight Global.
  3. ^ a b c Schmitz 2006, p. 57.
  4. ^ "Pakistan’s popular private airline AirBlue to begin Flights to the UK in May" Pakistan Times, Printed Jan 28, 2007,
  5. ^ Schmitz 2006, p. 58.
  6. ^ "AirBlue Begins Pakistan-UK Flights from June 1". Archived from the original on 2010-01-02. Retrieved 2009-12-30.
  7. ^ "Flight Schedule". airblue.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Airblue schedule". Archived from the original on 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2012-11-28.
  9. ^ a b "Airblue former map". Archived from the original on 2016-11-05. Retrieved 2016-11-19.
  10. ^ "Airblue Launches Karachi Gawadar Flights". Pakistan Economist. Archived from the original on 2016-11-05. Retrieved 2016-11-19.
  11. ^ "Airblue ATR72 service advertisement".
  12. ^ Rizvi, Muzaffar. "Airblue starts Istanbul service". Khaleej Times.
  13. ^ "Air Blue suspends Birmingham to Pakistan flights". BBC News. 21 November 2013. Archived from the original on 19 February 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2021.
  14. ^ "Airblue Cancels Islamabad – Manchester Service from late-January 2014". Routes Online. 20 January 2014. Archived from the original on 19 November 2016.
  15. ^ "Promotional Campaign Launched". Archived from the original on 2010-01-02. Retrieved 2009-12-30.
  16. ^ "Airblue - Become a Certified Airblue eCargo Agent".
  17. ^ AirBlue Fleet Details and History, access date 5 February 2021
  18. ^ "AirBlue wet-leases Ukrainian A330-200". ch-aviation.
  19. ^ "Air Blue Fares Offers and Booking | Traveleap". 8 June 2017.
  20. ^ "Crash: AirBlue A321 near Islamabad on Jul 28th 2010". Retrieved June 24, 2010.
  21. ^ "Crash: AirBlue A321 near Islamabad on Jul 28th 2010, impacted mountainous [sic] terrain near the airport". The Aviation Herald. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
  22. ^ "Live Flight Tracker - Real-Time Flight Tracker Map".
  23. ^ Pepsi co., Airblue. "Airblue's partnership with Pepsi co".


  • Schmitz, Sebastian. "airblue: A New High Flyer from Pakistan". Air International, January 2006, Vol 70 No 1. pp. 56–58. ISSN 0306-5634.

External links[edit]

Media related to Airblue at Wikimedia Commons