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History of PIA - Pakistan International Airlines

Since 1954, PIA has flown many popular and famous passenger aircraft types. These aircraft include Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation, DC-3 Dakota, Convair CV-240, Vickers Viscount 815, Boeing 707, Boeing 720, Hawker Siddeley HS.121 Trident 1E, McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 and Fokker F27 Friendship

PIA Boeing 720-047B

Boeing 720-047B  (Copyright © Ray Pettit)

This photo taken by Ray shows AP-AXL taxiing at London-Heathrow Airport on November 10, 1974. PIA began operating Boeing 720B aircraft in 1962 and Boeing 720B created many golden moments in the history of PIA; PIA's very first Boeing 720B broke the world record for the London-Karachi non-stop flight time; another Boeing 720B made PIA the first non-communist airline to operate flights to China; and again it was a Boeing 720B which made PIA the first non-communist airline to operate a service between Asia and Europe via Moscow. On the 5th of July of 1986, the last of PIA's tough pioneering Boeing 720B jets operated its final flight. Without ceremony or fanfare it landed at Karachi Airport, never to take off again on a trip that made short work of oceans and continents, deserts and mountains


PIA Fokker F27 Friendship Mk 400

Fokker F27 Friendship Mark 400  (Copyright © PIA)

This photo shows AP-ALW on take-off from Karachi Airport in early 1980s. PIA operated Fokker F27 aircraft type for forty five years from 1961 to 2006. The airline accepted delivery of its first Fokker F27 (registration AP-ALM) on January 3, 1961 and deployed the aircraft type on domestic and regional route network. In the north, from Islamabad/Rawalpindi and Peshawar, Fokker flew on difficult routes over Pakistan's mountainous areas to smaller cities and towns like Gilgit, Chitral, Swat, Bannu, Parachinar and Saidu Sharif. From Lahore the aircraft flew to smaller cities of Punjab like Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Mianwali, Rahim Yar Khan and Bahawalpur. In the South, the Fokker linked city of Karachi with Baluchistan province's Makran coastal belt towns like Gwadar, Jiwani, Ormara and Pasni. Remote and smaller towns of Baluchistan like Zhob, Turbat, Khuzdar, Panjgur and Dalbandin were also linked with the rest of country by Fokker flights. The aircraft connected Karachi and Hyderabad with interior Sindh cities like Sehwan Sharif, Sindhri, Nawabshah, Jacobabad, Sukkur and Moenjodaro. PIA was launch customer for Fokker F27 Mark 400 and received its first F27 Mark 400 (AP-ALW) on October 19, 1961. The F27 Mark 400 equipped with large side cargo door was not only used for passenger flights but also was available for charter flights to transport large size equipment for oil & gas exploration companies to areas like Sui. On PIA's regional route network the aircraft linked Pakistan with countries like Afghanistan and India. Fokker flew scheduled passenger flights from Peshawar to Kabul and from Lahore to New Delhi. In East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) Fokker flew between Dacca and Chittagong and on regional route connected Indian city of Calcutta with Dacca. Years later, PIA introduced Fokker on flights from Gwadar in Baluchistan to Persian Gulf cities like Muscat in Oman and Sharjah in UAE. On January 26, 2006, a PIA Fokker F27 (registration AP-BCZ) flew Pakistan's first scheduled passenger flight operated by all-women crew on Islamabad-Lahore route. After operating Fokker flights for more than four decades years, PIA flew its last scheduled passenger flight with Fokker aircraft in July of 2006



PIA Boeing 707-340C

Boeing 707-340C  (Hans Resch Collection)

This photo from Hans's collection shows AP-AUP in 1960s PIA livery. PIA operated Boeing 707 aircraft for four decades from 1960s to late 1990s. The first Boeing 707 jetliner (leased from Pan American World Airways) joined PIA's fleet in 1960 and it made PIA the first Asian airline to fly a jetliner. In 1966, PIA began accepting delivery of its own brand new Boeing 707s from Boeing Company. Boeing 707 and her shorter sister Boeing 720B were PIA's main equipment for long-haul flights of 1960s. The Boeing 707s also served as freighter for PIA Cargo from 1970s to 1990s. PIA operated its last Boeing 707 passenger flight in 1992 and replaced Boeing 707 passenger aircraft with brand new Airbus A310-300s but PIA Cargo continued to fly Boeing 707 as freighter in 1990s. The last two Boeing 707 freighters of PIA Cargo were retired in late 1999


PIA Boeing 747-282B

Boeing 747-282B  (Abbas Ali Collection)

This photo shows AP-AYW parked at London-Heathrow Airport on April 13, 1976 after getting painted in PIA livery. AP-AYV and AP-AYW, initially leased from TAP Portugal for four years from April 1976 to April 1980 and purchased after completion of lease period, were PIA's first two Boeing 747s. The two Boeing 747-282B jumbo jets arrived at London-Heathrow Airport, United Kingdom, from Portugal in basic TAP livery but with their Pakistani registrations to be painted by British Airways Engineering in PIA's then new green & gold livery which was designed by London-based design consultants Negus & Negus. The green & gold livery, which became an instant hit, was introduced for the first time on airline's these two Boeing 747s. AP-AYW was first aircraft to unveil this livery when it became the first Boeing 747 sporting PIA livery to land in Pakistan on April 16, 1976. The aircraft on its delivery from London to Islamabad was flown by PIA's highly experienced and senior most Boeing 747 commanders Capt. Shaukat and Capt. Khusro and got warm reception upon arrival at Islamabad Airport. Hundreds of people including airline employees and people from print and electronic media greeted AP-AYW at Islamabad Airport. On April 25, 1976, AP-AYW's sistership AP-AYV also arrived in Pakistan. PIA operated Boeing 747 on its international route network for the first time on May 1, 1976 by introducing the aircraft on flight to London from Karachi and Islamabad. The inaugural international flight with Boeing 747 also gave opportunity to aviation spotters at London-Heathrow Airport to see PIA's new green & gold livery for the first time. Years later, between 1985 & 86, PIA added four more Boeing 747-200B aircraft in its fleet. These four aircraft were Boeing 747-217Bs acquired from Canadian Pacific Airlines, also called CP Air. Boeing 747-200Bs remained in service with PIA for more than 29 years and were used on routes to Middle East, Europe, North America and Far East. These large capacity wide-body aircraft were also deployed on airline's high density domestic routes like Karachi-Lahore-Karachi and Karachi- Islamabad-Karachi. The airline also used its Boeing 747-200Bs on annual Hajj flights operations for many years. With the start of new millennium, PIA began gradual withdrawal of its ageing Boeing 747-200B fleet and scrapped a number of them at Karachi Airport in year 2002. In year 2005, the airline sold its last two operational Boeing 747-200Bs. Interestingly the first PIA Boeing 747-200B (AP-AYW) to land in Pakistan was one of last two of the type operated by the airline




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