Today Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf official twitter handle tweeted about Pakistan International Airline flights to New York. The tweet stated “PMLN accuses govt of trying to destroy PIA via fake degree holders accountability. Perhaps they forgot, we work to turn around PIA, while under Shahid Khaqan, PIA suspended flight ops to JFK (New York) while Air blue started flights on the same route.” It is sad to see the ruling political party dragging a business entity into their political mudslinging on the basis of fake and wrong information. The tweet is deleted now.
The fact of the matter is that Airblue never operated any international flights outside the Gulf region in its history apart from its flights to Manchester and Birmingham for a limited time period. And few flights to Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen international airport. Airblue’s ambitious plans to expand came to an abrupt halt after the crash and its struggle to utilize the pair of A340s it acquired to fulfill its long haul ambitions. This fake news was started by a news anchor a few years ago.
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Airblue long haul plans
In June 2012, Airblue finalized 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.