photo taken at PIA booking office on Club Road, Karachi, in
June 1956, shows Air Hostess Naseem Feroze
modelling the first uniform based on Pakistan's national dress
for PIA Air Hostesses. Incidentally, the shoes and handbag in
this photo belong to Naseem
and not PIA issued.
In following writeup Naseem
remembers how she joined PIA and her early days with the
"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. 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 (click
here to see photo). 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."