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|Commenced operations||7 November 1993
6 March 2012 (Relaunch)
|Ceased operations||2000 (Pre relaunch)
22 April 2012
|Operating bases||Jinnah International Airport|
|Company slogan||For those who love to fly|
|Parent company||Bhoja Group of Companies,|
|Key people||M. Farouk Omar Bhoja (Chairman and CEO)
Air Cdre Javed Ishaq (DMD)
The airline was founded in 1993 and operated a small domestic network of scheduled passenger flights. Due to financial difficulties, the airline completely suspended operations between 2000 and 2012. After a brief re-launch, and subsequent crash of Bhoja Air Flight 213 on the day of the re-launch, Bhoja Air lost its operational license and ceased operations for the final time in July 2012.
On 7 November 1993, Bhoja Air started operations on domestic routes between Karachi, Lahore and Quetta with a dry leased Boeing 737-200. It was registered in Pakistan making Bhoja the first private airline in the country to operate a Western manufactured aircraft. Bhoja Air is a privately owned airline of the Bhoja Group of Companies with its head office at Shahrah–e-Liaquat, Karachi and corporate offices at KDA Scheme No 1. In 1996, it signed a deal with the handling agent group OGDENS with complete ground handling equipment at Karachi, capable of handling Boeing 747s. In the same year another sister company, Pakistan Aviators and Aviation located at Allama Iqbal International Airport, Lahore was purchased[by whom?], along with a hotel for passenger stop-overs.
On 24 January 1998 Bhoja Air commenced international flights from Karachi to Dubai. Later, Bhoja Air operated flights to the U.A.E from all major cities of Pakistan. However, due to financial difficulties, Bhoja Air suspended its operations in 2000, although its airline licence issued by CAA – Pakistan remained valid and it maintained a fully functional headquarters office in Karachi and a flight ops and ramp office at Karachi Jinnah International.
The airline became active again during late 2011 and on 6 March 2012, they operated their first flight in twelve years. However, on 20 April, a Bhoja Air flight from Karachi to Islamabad crashed, killing all 127 passengers and crew aboard and completely destroying the aircraft.
Following the crash of Flight 213, the airline fully suspended operations for a second time on 22 April, just six weeks after their relaunch. The crash reduced their fleet size from three to two aircraft, thus, Bhoja Air were in breach of Pakistani law, which requires airlines to have at least three aircraft; Bhoja Air had lost one in the crash of Flight 213, a second was grounded, leaving only one operational aircraft. As a result, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) suspended the operating license of the airline on 29 May after a grace period, starting from the day of the crash of Flight 213.
Bhoja Air was planning to lease another aircraft and resume operations by mid-August with the assistance of an unnamed foreign airline, however, these plans never came to fruition. The airline subsequently sold their remaining two aircraft and was shut down completely with the sale of their last aircraft in July 2012. All staff had their contracts terminated.
Bhoja Air served the following destinations as of April 2012, when all services were suspended:
- Islamabad - Benazir Bhutto International Airport
- Karachi - Jinnah International Airport Hub
- Lahore - Allama Iqbal International Airport
- Multan - Multan International Airport
- Faisalabad - Faisalabad International Airport
Bhoja also planned on launching another domestic station Sukkur, however that did not materialise despite being listed in the airlines website booking menu.
The Bhoja Air fleet consisted of the following aircraft at the time of service being suspended in April 2012:
Two more leased 737-200 were never delivered due to suspension of operations.
Bhoja Air previously operated the Yakovlev Yak-42.
Incidents and accidents
- On 20 April 2012, a Boeing 737-200, operating Flight 213 and carrying 127 people on a flight from Karachi to Islamabad crashed near Chaklala during approach, killing all people on board. Eye-witness reports say that the aircraft was already on fire on its landing approach before it crashed, perhaps due to a strike of lightning. Initial reports suggest that as the pilots of Flight 213 attempted to land amidst rain and strong winds, the aircraft might have flown into an unexpected wind shear. The aircraft was on dry-lease from South African airline Comair, and had been acquired and placed in service by Bhoja Air in February 2012. Minister for Interior A. Rehman Malik said on 22 April 2012 that Farouk Bhoja, the Chairman of the Airline, had been placed on the Exit Control List (ECL).
- "Contact Us." (Archive) Bhoja Air. Retrieved on 21 April 2012. "Bhoja Terrace Sharah-i-Liaqat, Karachi, Pakistan." - See map, Archive
- "Bhoja Air crash: Officials differ over the events that led to crash". The Express Tribune. 22 April 2012. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
- CAA temporarily orders Bhoja operations suspension
- Bhoja Airline temporarily banned in Pakistan Geo News Pakistan, May 29, 2012
- Bhoja Air ch-aviation-ch
- Bhoja destinations Archived 2012-04-21 at WebCite
- "All 127 on board Islamabad-bound plane perish". Dawn.Com. 2010-07-28. Archived from the original on 2012-04-24. Retrieved 2012-04-21.
- "Bhoja Air plane crash kills 127 in Pakistan; black box found". Ndtv.com. Retrieved 2012-04-21.
- Awami Admin. "Bhoja Aircraft Crashed near Koraal Chowk Rawalpindi". Awami Web. Retrieved 2012-04-21.
- Wind shear may have caused the crash
- "AP-BKC Background | Planespotters". Planespotters.net. Retrieved 2012-04-21.
- "Bhoja Airlines owner put on ECL". Pakwatan.com. Retrieved 2012-04-21.