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History of PIA - Pakistan International Airlines

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The first airline from an Asian land country and the first airline from a Muslim country to fly the Super Constellation.

- The first Asian airline to operate a jet aircraft.
- The first Asian airline to be granted maintenance approval by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Air Registration Board, predecessor of the British Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
- The first non-communist airline to fly to the People's Republic of China, and to operate a service between Asia and Europe via Moscow.
- The first airline in Asia to induct the new technology Boeing 737-300 aircraft.
- An IBM 1401, the first computer in Pakistan, was installed in PIA.
- The first airline to introduce a second route to People's Republic of China over the mighty Karakoram mountains.
- The first airline to show in-flight movies on international routes.
- PIA set up Pakistan's first planetarium at Karachi.
- The first airline in South Asia to introduce auto-ticketing facility.
- The first airline in the world to fly to Tashkent, capital of the newly independent state of Uzbekistan.
- First airline in the world to start Air Safari with jet aircraft.
- First Asian airline to start flights to Oslo, the beautiful capital city of Norway.
- First airline in the world to induct Boeing 777-200LR, the world's longest range commercial airliner.
- First airline in South Asia to offer the facility of seat reservation through mobile phone.

Historic Firsts Photo Gallery

PIA Lockheed L-1049C Super Constellation

Lockheed L-1049C Super Constellation  (Abbas Ali Collection)

This photo was taken on February 1, 1954 when Pakistan's ambassador to the United States was invited to officially accept the delivery of PIA's first Super Constellation (AP-AFQ). With the delivery of AP-AFQ to PIA, Pakistan became the first Asian land country and the first Muslim country to fly the Super Constellation. Six-and-a-half year old Sharon Owen - who is exactly the same age as Pakistan, born on August 14, 1947 - acted as honorary stewardess, helping show off the plane to the official party. In this photo, young Sharon Owen is seen shaking hand with Syed Amjad Ali, Pakistan's ambassador to the United States. Looking on are Mrs. Amjad Ali, Robert E. Gross, president of Lockheed, and Capt. Neville Hemsworth, PIA's Super Constellation pilot


PIA Boeing 707-321

Boeing 707-321  (Abbas Ali Collection)

PIA became the first Asian airline to operate a jetliner when it leased Boeing 707-321 (registration N723PA) "Clipper Viking"  from Pan American World Airways in 1960. "Clipper Viking" was leased out to PIA on February 09, 1960 for use from March 07, 1960 on the London service that was extended to New York on June 16, 1961. The aircraft was returned to Pan Am on December 12, 1962. In this photo, passengers are seen boarding N723PA at London Heathrow Airport. When this photo was taken, the Boeing 707 was operating PIA flight PK-706 from London to Karachi via Rome, Beirut and Tehran



Arrival of PIA's first flight from China

Arrival of PIA's first flight from China  (Yawar Karim Collection)

PIA was the first non-communist airline to operate flights to the People's Republic of China. In this rare photo from 1964 in Yawar's collection, you can see the arrival of PIA's first flight from China at Dacca Airport, East Pakistan. Yawar's grandfather Capt. Moinuddin Quraishi appears on the right side of this photo. The Chinese delegation was given warm welcome with flower garlands as seen in the photo. PIA Boeing 720B jetliner used for this flight appears in the background of this photo


PIA Boeing 737-340

Boeing 737-340  (Copyright Boeing)

AP-BCE seen during a pre-delivery test flight in 1985. PIA was the first Asian operator of Boeing 737 series 300 aircraft. A total of six Boeing 737-340s were delivered to PIA between 1985 and 1986. These Boeing 737s replaced ageing Boeing 720Bs on PIA's domestic and regional flights


PIA Boeing 720-047B

Boeing 720-047B  (Ajaz Karim Collection)

Pakistan's first planetarium was set up by PIA in Karachi. This photo from Ajaz Karim's collection shows AP-AXM on display at PIA Planetarium in Karachi. The retired Boeing 720B was moved from Karachi Airport to PIA Planetarium in Karachi on September 1, 1986


PIA Boeing 737-340 Inaugural Air Safari Flight

Boeing 737-340  (AVM Farooq Umar Collection)

Managing Director PIA Air Vice Marshal Farooq Umar before embarking Boeing 737-300 jetliner with group of tourists and guests on inaugural Air Safari flight to Karakorams on August 6, 1993. PIA is the first airline in the world to operate Air Safari flights with jet aircraft


PIA Airbus A310-308

Airbus A310-308  (Copyright Andreas Eriksson)

This photo shows AP-BDZ landing on runway 01R of Norway's Oslo-Gardermoen Airport on May 1, 2001. PIA became the first Asian airline to touch down in Norway when its Airbus A310-308 landed at Oslo's Gardermoen Airport on May 1, 1999. PIA commenced two weekly flights on Karachi-Oslo sector, via Lahore and Islamabad, respectively. On the return route, the flights are routed via Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, which was PIA's first destination in Scandinavia two decades ago


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