KARACHI, Dec 19: Airblue’s operating performance in 2006 has shown marked improvement over the last year as its profit after taxation increased from Rs82 million to Rs153 million.

According to the financial statements, the private sector airline’s passenger revenue increased from Rs1.543 billion in 2005 to Rs4.112 billion, an increase of 166 per cent in the current year.

When contacted, chief operating officer of the Airblue, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, told Dawn that the gross profit of the airline increased from Rs64 million to Rs448 million, an increase of 600 per cent this year.

He said new fuel prices also had an impact as fuel cost increased from Rs519 million to Rs1.475 million.

Mr Abbasi said the airline also managed to sustain fuel price increase of over 50 per cent and obtained two A321s (Airbus aircraft) on dry lease from internal revenue generation without resorting to any external borrowing during 2006.

“Our achievements from internal revenue generation include our international operation to Dubai from Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar”, he added.

As per financial statements, cargo revenue also showed an increase of 32pc as it welled to Rs41m this year from Rs31m.

Short-term financing of the airline, which operates with a fleet of six aircraft, also reduced this year to Rs48 million from Rs206 million last year, a 330 per cent decrease.

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