PIA Air Hostess Naseem Feroze
photographed at Beirut International Airport, Lebanon, after
arriving as one of cabin crew members of PIA VIP flight that was
carrying Pakistan President Ayub Khan. The PIA VIP flight was
from London to Karachi with stopover in Beirut. In following
writeup Naseem remembers how she joined PIA and her early days
with the airline including as cabin crew member of PIA VIP
flight to Beirut.
"In 1956, an add appeared in
'The Pakistan Times', Lahore for air hostesses for PIA. After
reading it I set it aside. The add appeared for three successive
days. Although appearing quite interesting I set it aside
thinking about my family traditions. Discussing the add with my
older brother. He encouraged me to at least apply and appear for
The interview was scheduled to
be held at the PIA office in Shah Din building, The Mall,
Lahore. The interviewing board consisted of Chausie Fountainer,
The stewardess training instructor from Pan American World
Airways, Mr. Ashraf, Station Manager, Lahore and Mr. Nasir Ghani,
Passenger Service Manager. I was asked, if I would consider
cutting my hair and whether I would be comfortable wearing a
skirt, the normal uniform for air hostess’s around the world. I
showed my deep reservation to both of these demands. Although
she did mention that PIA was in the process of designing a new
uniform. A couple of days later a letter of acceptance arrived
from PIA, despite my refusal to give in the demand of shortening
the hair and wearing a western outfit.
I was chosen to be the model for the new PIA uniform (click
here to see photo). This comprised of a green tunic,
green hat, white shalwar and dupatta, black shoes and purse. PIA
was the first airline in the world to incorporate local attire
as its uniform. Later other airlines like Air India, British
Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC), Malaysia-Singapore Airlines
(MSA) followed suit.
All the international airports, where PIA operated, the’ PIA
Girl’, uniform stood out. They were the real brand ambassador
for the country and PIA.
Once President Ayub Khan
traveled from London to Karachi and had a stopover at Beirut. He
was given an honour guard. The visitor’s gallery was full of
people clapping while he de-planed from the front. Afterwards, I
also de-planed and walked towards the terminal. To my
astonishment the clapping for me was much more vigorous than for
the President. I just waved at them and the applause was much
more resounding. Such was the power of the green uniform.
Back on the aircraft, heading
towards Pakistan, the President really appreciated the work of
the cabin crew (Jamila and I) as shining example of a new
country, heading for greatness."