Pakistan International Airline (PIA) holds a significant sentimental value due to its unique history. Tripkar brings you important information regarding the history of Pakistan International Airlines and its importance to our Aviation industry:
The formation of PIA was technically proposed by the Muhammad Ali Jinnah himself when in June 1946 he instructed Mr. M.A. Ispahani, a leading industrialist of that time, to set up a national airline as a priority task. This need was felt when Jinnah realized that the 1100 miles distance between the two wings of Pakistan was supposed to be bridged urgently.
Hence later in the same year on 23rd October, Orient airways Ltd. was formed with Mr. M.A. Ispahani being its Chairman and Air Vice Marshal O.K. Carter, the General Manager. The license for operations, however, was obtained in May 1947. Eventually, two months later Pakistan came into existence and Orient Airways, along with BOAC aircraft chartered by Government of Pakistan, came into great use since a huge number of people had to migrate. This was one of the largest migration recorded in history so it could not have been possible without Orient Airways. Later on, the base of this airline was shifted to Pakistan. Initially, it owned very few assets including two DC-3 airplanes, twelve mechanics and three crew members but by 1949 it obtained 10 additional DC-3 airplanes to operate on the routes of Karachi-Quetta-Lahore, Karachi-Lahore-Peshawar and Karachi-Delhi-Calcutta-Dacca.
Orient Airways Ltd was privately owned and hence the capital and resources were limited. In order to expand and grow, it needed some external help. So on 10th of January 1955, the government of Pakistan established their own airline and proposed Orient airways to merge with them. Thus, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) came into being!
PIA had the advantage of having the experienced crew from Orient airways and that helped it to survive and grow despite economic hardships faced by the country. Today, regardless of how poorly PIA is operating in terms of profitability, it is a commendable fact that it came such a long way and enjoys the honor of being the oldest airline of Pakistan.
When Air Commodore Nur Khan was appointed as the managing director of PIA in 1959, he took PIA to a great level through his leadership qualities. Within six years, PIA was renowned as one of the world’s front-line carriers and hence these are termed as the “golden years” of PIA. The airline made various records in history like the fastest flight between London and Karachi and being the first airline from any non-communist country to fly into China.
PIA also proved to be of great help during the 1965 war between India and Pakistan, providing logistical support to the armed forces. Where the airline currently seems to be struggling constantly, a PIA advertisement from 1979 revealed that the national carrier had almost 3.5 million passengers every year and the average ticket preparation time about 36 years ago had dropped to 6.5 minutes. Moreover, in November 1978, the PIA baggage lost claims did not go beyond 2 per 10,000 passengers flown!
With such figures and service quality of PIA, it will always be remembered as the airline to bring pride and fame to the country during its golden era.