Bhoja Air: A chequered history

It was just last month that Bhoja Air relaunched, after a decade-long hiatus.

Our Correspondent April 21, 2012


It was just last month that Bhoja Air relaunched, after a decade-long hiatus.

The airline was one of the first private carriers to start commercial service when the then prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, opened the country’s airspace in 1993.

Bhoja Air started international flights five years later – but the airline never could make it big. It’s only international destination was Dubai, and it was forced to suspend operations by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in 1999-2000 after failing to pay flying dues.

After restarting operations last month, the airline was allowed to operate domestic flights only, until it satisfied the regulator that it was keeping up with flight standards and regulations. Bhoja Air was among three private airlines which were vying to grab a share of growing air traffic in 2012. The airline was issued a flying permit after it had assured the CAA that it would repay dues and meet the necessary standards.

The carrier owns two Boeing 737-200 aircraft, which it had bought on a dry lease from a South African company. Another B-737 400 is pending regulatory approval from the CAA.

Airline chairman Farooq Omar Bhoja refused to comment on the accident. “We have issued the statement. What else do you want to ask me?”

Several local private airlines have gone bankrupt over the years, unable to compete with Middle East-based carriers.

Bhoja Air recently appointed Arshad Jalil as its managing director. Jalil was previously the CEO of Shaheen Air and owns an aircraft maintenance company.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2012.

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A.H Adhia | 9 years ago | Reply

Few facts need to put straight for media:

Mr. Arshad Jalil owns 95% of Bhoja. After accident he sold 59% shares to Sky Jet, a Dubai-based company working for NATO and United Nations in Afghanistan. A case of 302 is pending against Mr. Arshad Jalil but he has failed to return from Dubai. In fact, at the time of accident he and his wife were in China and then the went to Dubai. Their son, who owns around 8% shares in Bhoja is in Karachi and his passport was recently confiscated by FIA.

Unfortunately, the investigations are not being done properly due to immense pressure from many quarters. We don't know whether Mr. Arshad is complacent in third class quality of the aircraft or not but he must be brought to the court of justice. By putting all blame on pilot is not correct. Unfortunately, such a big incident has not caused any suo moto notice in the court nor has our worthy PM or President addressed this issue properly.

Same is the case with Air Blue investigations. And just 2 days back, again there was a major fault in Shaheen Airline aircraft. But our media was unable to follow the issue. CAA must be blamed. I sense lot of bribe in all this non-sense. Another disaster is waiting for Pakistani private carriers, if CAA does not put its foot down.

AHM | 9 years ago | Reply


Sad to see that you feel sorry for Bhoja Air and suggesting these guys to commence airline with another name. You should have suggested suspedning the airline till completion of all investigation. Yes, I agree with you that we need cheaper airline but not at cost of people lives by compromising on safety and quality. Please read following article which is an eye opener.

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