Bhoja Air (IATA: B4, ICAO: BHO, Call sign: BHOJA) is an airline based in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan. It operates a small domestic scheduled network. It ceased operations in 2000 due to financial difficulties and succumbed to numerous debts and was relaunched in 2011, the first flight was on 6 March 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 society. 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 Lahore International airport was purchased 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 2001, although its Airline Licence issued by CAA – Pakistan remained valid and it maintained a fully functional headquarter office in Karachi and an operations and ramp office at Karachi airport. Bhoja Air restarted operations in 2012.
Bhoja network covers the following at March 2012:
- Islamabad – Benazir Bhutto International Airport
- Karachi – Jinnah International Airport
- Lahore – Allama Iqbal International Airport
- Multan – Multan International Airport
- Sukkur – Sukkur Airport
Incidents and accidents
On 20 April 2012, a Boeing 737-200 (AP-BKC), Bhoja Air Flight 213 carrying 127 people on a flight from Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport destined for Islamabad’s Benazir Bhutto International Airport crashed near Chaklala killing all on board. Pakistani Defence Ministry officials believe that the plane crashed into a remote residential area. There were also bad weather conditions, with lightning and rain pouring at the time of landing. Eye-witness reports say that the aircraft was already on fire on its landing approach before it crashed. The aircraft had been retired by Shaheen Air, and then acquired and placed in service by Bhoja Air in March 2012.
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