Aero Asia International was a private airline based in Karachi, Pakistan. It operated domestic and international services. Its main base was Jinnah International Airport, Karachi. However, since May 2007 the airline was suspended from flying for failing to meet safety standards.
The airline made a promising start, employing senior ex-PIA management with a serious growth plan. The airline contracted two Romanian Airlines aircraft for wet-lease & lease-purchase of BAC 1-11 aircraft. Operations were started with wet-leased BAC 1-11 aircraft from the VIP fleet of Romania operated by Romavia Airlines, a sister company of the Romanian Airforce. This fleet was primarily used by Romanian government dignitaries during Ceauşescu's times. However, the post Ceauşescu governments decided to earn a little money by leasing this fleet to other commercial operators. Later, Aero Asia obtained four BAC 1-11 aircraft on lease purchase option from Tarom, the national airline of Romania. The airline, in its initial years, made serious commitments to training its locally-hired staff, following the example of PIA and in line with requirements of the local civil aviation authority. A small training school was also founded, for training of cabin crew. Former Pakistan Airforce pilots were recruited, who began flying as co-pilots with the Romanian Pilots. In 1994 Aero Asia took the usual step for a private airline in Pakistan by recruitment of batch of trainees for aircraft maintenance, announcing that a fully-functional aircraft maintenance facility was planned. Senior retired staff from the PIA training center were employed and approval of the training school from the local civil aviation authority was sought. The airline lost its bid to be the first Pakistani private airline to operate on international routes to its newly founded rival Shaheen Air International, a subsidiary of the Pakistan Airforce. It was also not granted the much coveted route of Karachi-Dubai, whereas Shaheen Air International was sharing in the monopoly of PIA. Aero Asia started its international operation on a route to Bishkek, in Central Asia. For this purpose another aircraft from the VIP fleet of Romania, a Boeing 707 aircraft was leased. The move to shift international operation to central Asian ex-USSR states was supposed to help the other businesses of Tabani Group in penetrating these countries. Later, Aero Asia started flying to the Gulf Emirate of Sharjah, linking to Dubai via road network. It also established a small maintenance facility in Sharjah Airport Free Zone by taking over a small aircraft hangar offering services such as paint jobs to third parties. Aero Asia operated a fleet of three to five Yakovlev Yak-42D on main trunk routes in Pakistan. These were mainly Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore. However, as demand rose through the years, the airline replaced its YAK-42Ds with Boeing 737-200Adv and Douglas DC-9s. The airline also introduced a more modern livery instead of having the colours of a past operator of the aircraft on its fuselage. A large "Aero Asia" was added to the front fuselage in bold red colour with the airline logo in between the words and on the tail.
At the start of 2006, Aero Asia and Askari Bank MasterCard announced their strategic alliance to offer their card members special discounts. On May 22, 2006 the Civil Aviation Authority stopped all Aero Asia flights as it was owed millions of Rupees. The management of the airline were pre-informed about the CAA decision and the ban would remain imposed until further orders by the aviation regulators.
On June 12, 2006 United Kingdom-based Regal Group acquired Aero Asia from its original owners, Tabani Group. The Group belongs to people of Pakistani,Kashmiri descent, with headquarters in Karachi and Yorkshire. The brand has a presence in Pakistan, United States, and United Kingdom. The airline is currently in the process of being rebranded and restructured. .
In May 2007 the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of Pakistan suspended the operations of Aero Asia due to issues related to the safety of operations and passenger convenience, after a number of deficiencies in the airline's flight safety standards were revealed. The problems had been highlighted to the management of Aero Asia time and again but the situation, instead of improving, deteriorated. The airline announced that it had decided to suspend operations temporarily with effect from 19 May 2007 until further notice and was looking for new aircraft. As of July 2008,the airline is still grounded or suspended.Employees,direct and contracted through Al-Haramain Ltd were laid off with no compensation.
Aero Asia International provides the following services: