Airblue is Pakistan’s largest private carrier operating on both domestic and international routes. With its establishment in 2003, the airline started its flight operations in 2004 with a fleet of Airbus A320. Within the first year of its launch, airblue earned adequate popularity to tough competition to the national flag carrier, i.e., PIA. Therefore, upon getting a lucrative response from the market, it extended its operations to international borders in 2005. The progressive growth of this private-owned airline encouraged it to launch its long-haul flight to Manchester in 2007 with the help of A321.

Induction of A340-300s in its fleet

In June 2012, airblue inducted two leased A340-300s to cater to its growing and expanding domestic and international routes. This airline decided to operate these 4-engined aircraft for its Lahore-Manchester and Islamabad-Manchester routes. Due to the features like crew commonality of A340 with that of A320, airblue found this pair the perfect match for its direct flights to Manchester. The airline also planned to configure 328 seats of the planes in an all-economy layout to facilitate every class with the best services on board. During their reign, these twins served different Middle East routes, two destinations of the UK, including Manchester and Birmingham.

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Retiring of A340-300s from the fleet

Airblue had acquired both of these jets from Los Angeles-based International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC). Despite hoping for far destinations with these A340s, these fuel inhaling aircraft did not prove beneficial for the airline. The prevalence of technical issues in these planes right after two years of acquisition compelled the airline to retire them. Furthermore, airblue possesses a single kind of narrow-bodied fleet. Therefore it became hard for it to provide ample maintenance to these wide-bodied birds. In addition to it, possession of only two A340s ensured the unavailability of spare parts in any malfunction. Moreover, the routes to Manchester proved too costly to continue. Hence, with an overall reduction in the demand for A340 worldwide, airblue also considered retiring them. Therefore, the airline closed its operations in the UK, and with this closure, it retired the A340s.

Image Credit: JetPhotos.com

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