Air Falcon, an upcoming charter carrier, claims World Class Services with State of the Art aircraft. But is all as it seems?
Air Falcon, a new startup charter carrier appears to have launched from the city of Lahore, Pakistan. As per its recently launched website airfalcon.com.pk, Air Falcon is a regional based carrier which claims to offer ‘world class and affordable services to its customers’ and ‘led by a team of experienced professionals with years of experience in the aviation industry’ and claims its crew are well trained with an appreciable safety record, giving the airline a competitive edge over other operators in the region. The airline boasts a growing fleet of ‘state of the art’ ATR and Boeing aircraft offering wet lease, charter services to airlines, corporate clients and tour operators.
Not much else has been mentioned or shown on the airlines website other than generic aircraft images and photoshopped renditions of Air Falcon aircraft. However, aviation blog PKAviation states that the airline aims to start freighter operations from the first half of 2018 and is presently training its newly hired crew at Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) for the ATR-72-500 which it plans to acquire for freighter services followed by an unknown number of Boeing 737-400 for either passenger or freighter services. The above blog also names the Air Falcon CEO as being Mian Nabeel Ashraf, the Chief Pilot Operations being Captain Ijaz Ahmed, an ex- Air Force pilot having previously served with another Pakistani airline operating A319, A320 and A321 (presumably Air Blue) with 7000 hours under his belt and Muhammad Naeem as GM Engineering and an ex-Pakistan Air Force Aeronautical Engineer.
While it seems Air Falcon has set all its plans in motion, it is interesting to see (albeit amusing) how the airline’s website speaks in the present tense as a carrier already well into operations. Its fleet of aircraft (which have yet to be inducted and pressed into service) are said to be ‘state of the art’ and while the ATR-72-500 might qualify for the same, the Boeing 737-400 is a 1980’s aircraft, hardly to be considered state of the art and the competitive edge which Air Falcon claims to have over other regional operators also begs the question as to which regional operators are we making reference to? If we look at Pakistan alone there are airlines which operate the ATR-42-500, ATR-72-500, Airbus A319, A320, A321, A330-200, Boeing 737-800 and the Boeing 777-200ER, 777-200LR and 777-300ER and if we expand the region to include the Indian Subcontinent, you have well over a dozen carriers operating all the above aircraft including the Boeing 787 Dreamliner with several hundred more ‘state of the art’ aircraft on the order books. It’s quite a no-brainer in which direction the competitive edge and state of the art scales are tipping.
While Air Falcon paints a very optimistic picture even before the wheels are off the ground , it will be interesting to see how soon and how effectively it can achieve ‘positive climb’ in this competitive industry. While the carrier’s moniker states ‘Let’s Fly’ it would also be safe to say ‘Let’s see’ and we wish them the best of luck in this endeavor.
By Moin Abbasi