|Founded||1946 (as Orient Airways)|
|Frequent flyer program||PIA Awards Plus +|
|Company slogan||Great People To Fly With|
|Parent company||Ministry of Defence (Government of Pakistan)|
|Key people||Ahmad Mukhtar, Chairman
Capt. Aijaz Haroon, MD
Pakistan International Airlines Corporation, commonly known as PIA (Urdu: پی آئی اے or پاکستان انٹرنیشنل ایرلاینز), is the flag carrier airline of Pakistan. The airline, with its head office on the grounds of Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, is the 31st largest airline in Asia, operating scheduled services to 23 domestic destinations and 36 international destinations in 25 countries across Asia, Europe and North America. Its main bases are Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad/Rawalpindi.
The airline's secondary bases include Peshawar, Faisalabad, Quetta, Sialkot and Multan, from which it connects the metropolitan cities with the main bases, the Middle East and the Far East. The airline is owned by the Government of Pakistan (87%) and other shareholders (13%). It employed 18,043 people as of May 2008.
'Pakistan International Airlines', or 'PIA' for short, can trace its beginnings to the days when Pakistan was not an independent state. In 1946 Muhammed Ali Jinnah realised the need for an airline network for the forming country and called upon the help of an industrialist Mirza Ahmad Ispahani to develop a flag carrier for the nation. Meanwhile, an airline called 'Orient Airways', registered in Calcutta, was formed on 23 October 1946. In February 1947, the airline brought three DC-3 airplanes from a company in Texas, and in May of that year the airline was granted a licence to fly. Services were started in June from Kolkata to Sittwe and Yangon. This was the first post-war airline flight by a South Asian registered airline company. Two months after this service began, Pakistan was formed. Orient Airways began relief flights to the new nation and, soon after, it moved its operations to Karachi, where it began flights to Dhaka on 7 June 1954. In addition, the first two domestic routes in Pakistan were established, from Karachi to Lahore to Peshawar, and from Karachi to Quetta to Lahore.
The Government of Pakistan, realizing the operation was failing economically, proposed that Orient Airways merge into a new national airline. On 11 March 1955, Orient Airways merged with the government's proposed airline, becoming 'Pakistan International Airlines Corporation'. During the same year the airline opened its first international service, from Karachi to London Heathrow Airport via Cairo International Airport and Leonardo da Vinci Airport in Fiumicino, Italy, using the Lockheed L-1049C Super Constellation. The DC-3s continued operating the domestic services in Pakistan. In May 1956, PIA ordered two Super Lockheed Constellations and five Vickers Viscount 815. In 1959, Malik Nur Khan was named Managing Director.
In March 1960, PIA became the first Asian airline to use jet aircraft when Boeing 707 services were introduced. The aircraft were wet leased from Pan American and in 1961 services were begun to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. In 1962, orders were placed for Boeing 720s, Fokker F27s and Sikorsky helicopters. One of PIA's Boeing 720s broke a world record that year, when it flew from London to Karachi non-stop in 6 hours and 43 minutes during its delivery flight from Seattle, piloted by PIA's senior Captain Abdullah Baig, a record unbroken to this day. During 1962, services to East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) were proving to be difficult, therefore PIA placed their Sikorsky S-61 helicopters on these routes until 1966 when conditions improved. In 1964 PIA became the first airline from a non-communist country to fly to the People's Republic of China. As the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 broke out, PIA helped the Pakistani forces with logistics and transport. In 1966, the Viscounts were phased out, substituted by four Tridents. However, as growth surpassed the need for these aircraft, they were later sold to Civil Aviation Administration of China.
The 1970s saw the resumption of transatlantic flights and new destinations. It once again aided the Pakistan Army by transporting soldiers to East Pakistan in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 and lost a couple of its aircraft to Indian Air Force fighters.. In 1972 it applied to operate to Libya and an agreement was signed with Yugoslav airline JAT. In 1973, McDonnell Douglas DC-10s arrived and were used by the airline before they were replaced by Boeing 747-200Bs. In 1974 air freight services started, as well as a cargo service to New York City under the name, 'Pakistan International Cargo'. In 1975, PIA introduced new uniforms for air hostesses. These uniforms were chosen through an open competition, the winning entry was a design by Sir Hardy Amies who was designer to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
In 1976, leased Boeing 747-200Bs came into service. In 1978, the airline bought their first Boeing 747-200BM aircraft. Also in 1978 the airline provided help to Somali Airlines, Air Malta and Yemenia and established a hotel management service in the United Arab Emirates. PIA leased two of its own Boeing 720s to Air Malta during the 70s.
The 1980s began with the opening of a cargo centre in Karachi and the delivery of a new aircraft, Airbus A300B4-203. In 1981, a duty-free sales service was inaugurated. During 1982, the first C and D checks were carried out on the fleet in Karachi. In 1984, domestic night coach fare service was introduced to offer lower prices for low-income passengers. In 1985 the PIA Planetarium tourist attraction was inaugurated in Karachi and later in Lahore. In the same year, five Boeing 737-300s joined the fleet making PIA the first Asian operator of such a type. Two former PIA Boeing 720Bs now form part of the Planetarium's exhibition at Karachi and Lahore. In late 1987 and early 1988, flights were introduced to Malé and to Toronto Pearson International Airport, respectively. In 1989, the first women pilots started their career on passenger airplanes.
During June 1991, PIA received the first of six Airbus A310-300 aircraft on from Airbus Industrie. In 1992, flights started to Tashkent and in 1993, to Zürich, Switzerland. In addition, PIA became a user of the Sabre, Galileo and Amadeus global distribution systems. During 1994, PIA added Jakarta, Fujairah, Baku and Al-Ain to its destinations. Air Safari flights were launched in the same year using Boeing 737–300 aircraft over the Karakoram mountains. In 1995, PIA received a Boeing 747 flight simulation system and a used Air France A300 aircraft was bought. In 1996 the airline leased Tupolev Tu-154 aircraft, and re-opened services to Beirut.
PIA only used the Tupolev Tu-154 for a short time to deal with the demand during the summer of 1996. In 1999, PIA leased five Boeing 747–300 aircraft from Cathay Pacific to replace its aging Boeing 747-200M fleet. The aircraft wore a new livery with a handwork Pashmina tail on white body and large Pakistan titles on the front fuselage. The livery was applied to some of the fleet during the 90s but due to copyright problems the livery was dropped. The Boeing 747-300s remained in the new look but with a plain green tail with PIA titles. The other aircraft in the fleet were repainted in the 1990s livery.
In July 2002, PIA purchased six Boeing 747-300 aircraft from Cathay Pacific, five of which were already on lease with PIA. The sixth arrived shortly after and PIA operated it mainly on its North American and European routes. In October 2002, after a period of ten years without any new order, the airline purchased eight Boeing 777 aircraft from The Boeing Company, including three 777-200ER (Extended Range), two 777-200LR (Longer Range) and three 777-300ER versions. PIA was the launch customer that revived the Boeing 777-200LR project that, until then, only had three orders by EVA Air. The first two Boeing 777-200LR produced were test aircraft used by Boeing, before they were delivered to PIA. One of these Boeing 777-200LR was displayed at the Paris Airshow during 2005.
|A promotional video by PIA on delivery of the Boeing 777|
During 2004, PIA took delivery of its first Boeing 777-200ER aircraft in January. On delivery of the first three Boeing 777-200ERs the airline introduced a new aircraft livery, which was later applied to the majority of the fleet. PIA also acquired six half life Airbus A310-300/ET from the Airbus management on a ten year lease agreement. On 3 November 2005 PIA signed an agreement with the aircraft manufacturer, ATR to purchase seven ATR42-500. The aircraft were purchased to replace the aging F-27 aircraft. The seven ATR aircraft were delivered between 2006 and 2007. On 6 December 2005, PIA leased an additional new Boeing 777-200ER from the International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC). The aircraft had the same specifications as the previous Boeing 777-200ER that PIA operated. The aircraft was delivered in January 2007 on ten year lease to the airline.
On 25 February 2006 Boeing delivered its first 777-200LR Worldliner to PIA, where it flew from Everett to Islamabad via Manchester, England. PIA started non-stop flights from Toronto to Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore from 3 March 2006 taking advantage of Boeing 777-200LR's long range capability. PIA planned non-stop flights to New York City and other US cities with sizable Pakistani population centres, but was not given permission due to security reasons. On 31 May 2006, PIA took delivery of its first ATR aircraft from Toulouse, France. On 23 December 2006, PIA took delivery of its first Boeing 777-300ER. After the arrival of a second ATR 42–500, PIA has ceased using military Lockheed C-130 Hercules for passenger services in the north of Pakistan. The military planes were being used after the Fokker F27 fleet was grounded due to a fatal crash in July 2006.
On 5 March 2007, the European Commission, following an on-site visit, banned all but eight planes of PIA's 44-plane fleet from flying to Europe citing safety concerns. PIA was included in the List of air carriers banned in the European Union. The remaining eight, namely the fleet of Boeing 777s, has been exempted from the ban. PIA claims that this is discriminatory and the bans are not justifiable. On 26 March 2007, Tariq Saeed Kirmani resigned after severe pressure from higher authorities because of the EU ban. Zafar Khan was appointed as the new chairman of Pakistan International Airlines. A team from the European Union visited Karachi in July 2007, to check the condition of the planes and review the ban. On 5 July 2007, the EU lifted the restriction on 11 aircraft that PIA could fly into Europe, of which five were Boeing 747-300s and six Airbus A310-300s.. On 29 November 2007, The EU completely lifted the ban on PIA.. In the same year, PIA signed a lease deal for seven new Airbus A320-200 from Kuwait based leasing company ALAFCO, the factory built aircraft were to be delivered between 2009 and 2010, however the deal however was cancelled in 2008.
During April 2009, the management decided to launch a long-term ‘Business Plan of PIA’ including purchase of new aircraft with details of the plan being finalised.
Pakistan International Airlines Corporation (PIAC) is majority owned by the Government of Pakistan (87%) while the remainder (13%) by private shareholders. The airline falls under the direction of the Ministry of Defence chaired by its current chairman, Ahmad Mukhtar. The airline is managed by managing director, Captain Aijaz Haroon as well as the Board of Directors. The Board consists of nine independent non-executive members and has four sub-committees, being an Audit Committee, Brand and Advertising Committee, Finance Committee and Human Resource Committee each with its own charter and chairman. The MD leads the executive management of staff who control the running of the airline. The airline's main headquarters are located in Karachi whilst smaller sub head offices are located in several cities within Pakistan.
In the late 1990s, the Government of Pakistan considered selling the airline to the private sector due to the persistent losses suffered by the airline. The Government announced the privatisation plans but they were never implemented. Several steps towards outsourcing of non-core business have been initiated. Catering units (starting with Karachi Flight Kitchen), ground handling (starting with ramp services) and engineering, are to be gradually carved out of the airline and operated as independent companies. During 1997, Pakistan called in a team from International Finance (IFC), the consulting arm of the World Bank, to advise on restructuring and privatisation of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) however no agreement was reached. The government has many times planned the privatization of the State owned. however as of yet no reasonable agreement or solution has been found. On 18 February 2009 the carrier was dropped from the privatisation list.
The profitability of PIA is published in the 2008 annual report with figures in millions of Pakistani Rupees. The following table gives the key financial results for the end of year period of the financial year. PIA explains that the loss was caused by two factors: the weakening of the Pakistani rupee and the rise in crude oil prices during 2008.
|Year||Revenues Rs Millions||Profit/(Loss) Rs Millions|
PIA serves 23 domestic destinations and 36 international destinations in 25 countries across Asia, Europe, North America as of September 2009 from its home bases of Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar.
PIA operate a three class configuration on its domestic routes which include Business Plus, Economy Plus+ and Economy. However on their international flights a two class configuration, Business Plus and Economy, has remained popular. According to the Annual Report 2007, PIA recorded a seat factor of 69%, a percentage drop from 2006. PIA Business Plus passengers are offered flat bed seats on all Boeing 777 as well as select Airbus A310 aircraft.
The PIA in-flight magazine, Humsafar (Urdu for "travel companion"), is provided to all passengers on all international and domestic flights. Humsafar was introduced on PIA flights in 1980 and is printed and published in-house on a bi-monthly basis. General Urdu and English newspapers and magazines are available to all Business Plus and Economy Plus class passengers on PIA flights. Free newspapers are provided to all Economy class passengers.
PIA Awards Plus+ is the frequent flyer programme. The programme allows passengers to get free tickets, excess baggage vouchers, cabin upgrades, and a variety of rewards, special deals, and discounts with programme participants. Awards Plus+ has three tiers of membership – Emerald, Sapphire and Diamond. Awards Plus+ miles can be earned by flying PIA and by using the products and services of PIA's partners.
PIA Catering are the main suppliers of meals for the airline. They can produce 15,000 passenger meals each day. However since 2006, the management control of the flight kitchens has been given to Singapore Air Terminal Services (SATS). PIA Catering also provide special meals to allow for passengers' dietary and religious needs.
PIA operates a cargo delivery system within Pakistan. During the early 1970s, PIA operated a service called "Air Express" that delivered documents and parcels from one airport to another. Pakistan International Cargo was started in 1974 using two Boeing 707-320C, with services to the Middle East and Europe. The operations ended in the late 1990s when both aircraft were grounded. PIA Cargo transports goods across Pakistan as well as to international destinations. These include meat and vegetables, textiles, paper products and laboratory equipment.
In 2003 PIA launched "'PIA Speedex'", a courier service in Karachi, Lahore, and Rawalpindi/Islamabad; expanding within a year to 12 cities. Today, the airline offers over 70 locations within Pakistan, with shipments collected and delivered from customers' homes. From 2004 to September 2007, PIA Cargo operated two Airbus A300 Freighter aircraft chartered through MNG Airlines to Haan and Luton; initially these also operated to Amsterdam, Basel and Cologne.
Pakistan International Airlines fleet includes the following aircraft (as of November 2009):
|Airbus A310-300||12||184 (12/40/132)
|ATR 42||7||48 (0/8/40)|
|Boeing 737–300||6||118 (0/24/94)
|Boeing 747–200||1||468 (0/0/468)|
|Boeing 747–300||5||468 (0/20/448)|
|Boeing 777-200ER||4||320 (35/45/240)
|Boeing 777-200LR||2||310 (35/60/215)|
|Boeing 777-300ER||3||393 (35/54/304)|
In December 2003 PIA introduced a new image that was applied to their first 777-200ER and on two leased A310-300s one of which was in service. The livery was white at the front and beige at the rear separated by a dark green stripe. The tail was painted white with PIA written in dark green. PAKISTAN was added to the front fuselage and the engines where painted beige. The PIA written in calligraphic Urdu was added just behind the cockpit.
However, due to criticism the design was modified before the first Boeing 777 was delivered. PIA and Boeing replaced the tail with a flowing Pakistan flag on a beige background. PAKISTAN titles were removed and the PIA acronym was enlarged and moved onto the fuselage. The engines and Urdu PIA remained the same. The leased A310s and most of PIA fleet also adopted this livery at a later date.
In early 2006 the airline launched four new tail esigns for its fleet. The tails represented the four provinces of Pakistan: Sindh, Punjab, North-West Frontier Province and Balochistan.. The tails promoted the cultures of the four provinces of Pakistan by applying motifs to the tails and adding a city name to the rear of the fuselage corresponding to the province. The "Frontier" tail represented the "Phulkari" (flowering) pattern that reflected a tradition of embroidery generally done on shawls, shirts and linen. The "Punjab" tail was loosely related to the tile decoration of the Wazir Khan Mosque in Lahore. The "Balochistan" tail showed the creativity seen in the kilims, carpets and rugs woven with wool, goat or camel hair and mixed yarn. The pattern is mostly bold geometric motifs in primary colours dominated by red. The "Sindh" tail was influenced from the Hala tile work with electric blue and white floral patterns.
In 2008 management stopped the application of provincial tails deeming them too costly and decided to restore the flag tail design introduced on the first Boeing 777 in 2003. Since April 2009, A310s (AP-BEB and BEU) have been repainted with the flag, it is not known whether remaining fleet with get them, as some aircraft are carrying on with province designs despite having undergone heavy maintenance where the entire aircraft is repainted.
The airline has sponsored events, both within Pakistan and in its overseas markets.
In the 1990s, the airline launched the three green stripe livery to represent its support for sports. The airline supports a first-class cricket team that plays in the ABN AMRO Patron's Trophy in Pakistan. PIA also sponsors the A1 Team Pakistan in the A1 Grand Prix open-wheel auto racing series when it was initially launched. The airline also promotes the Shandur Polo Gala, that takes place every year in the Chitral and Gilgit regions of northern Pakistan during the summer period. PIA also has its own Sports Division since 1958 promoting sports within Pakistan such as cricket, hockey, football, squash, polo, tennis, bridge, chess, table tennis, cycling, and body building. PIA has its own Boy Scouts Association (PIA-BSA) working in partnership with Pakistan Boy Scouts Association. After the earthquake, PIA-BSA worked in partnership with other charity organisations to provide relief help.
PIA was one of the official sponsors of the "Destination Pakistan 2007" festivals. The official logo was added to a select number of aircraft during the year In 2008, PIA teamed up with mobile phone provider, Ufone to provide air miles to passengers who used the mobile network. Standard Chartered Bank and PIA launched Credit Cards allowing passengers to earn air miles for use of their credit cards. In 2009, PIA was the gold sponsor for Logistics Pakistan, an Exhibition and Conference poised to highlight the emerging opportunities for the Logistics sector in Pakistan. In 2009, PIA and Pakistan Remittance Initiative (PRI) formed a stategic alliance to promote world money transfers.
PIA has Planetariums in Karachi and Lahore which enable the public to see static aircraft as well as astronomy shows. PIA Horticulture, set up in 1996, provides flowers for display in PIA's offices and for events, winning awards and accolades at flower exhibitions across the country. The airline supports non-profit organisations within Pakistan such as; Al-Shifa Trust, Zindagi Trust, The Citizens Foundation and Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT). In 2009, PIA teamed up with the fast-food franchise, McDonalds, to offer passengers discounts on meals and upgrades. PIA also owns three hotels, the Roosevelt Hotel, the Scribe Hotel and Skyrooms (Private) Limited. The airline also has an agreement with Pearl Continental Hotels for its UAE based passengers.
PIA operates private charter flights using ATR 42s to Kadanwari and Sewan Sharif gas field in Sindh as well as to other parts of the country on behalf of oil and gas companies. Ad hoc charters for United Nations peacekeeping troops are also carried out to Africa and Eastern Europe using Boeing 747s.
PIA operates a two-month (pre- and post-) Hajj operation each year to and from Jeddah and sometimes Madinah in Saudi Arabia. PIA transports over 130,000 intending pilgrims each year from Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Quetta, Faisalabad, Multan, Sialkot, and Sukkur to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In order to deal with the demand, the airline leases many different aircraft including Boeing 747-200s, Airbus A321s, Airbus A300B4s and Boeing 737-400s.
PIA has been continuously serving government officials of Pakistan, mainly President of Pakistan and Prime Minister of Pakistan. Military and Judicial personnel also enjoy huge discounts on PIA flights. PIA has always transported the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan on overseas visits. During the late 1990s, a PIA Boeing 737–300 was used for official visits by the Bhutto and Sharif governments. The aircraft wore official government colours but was later repainted in the airline official colours at the end of the decade. When the government changed after a military coup in 1999, the Boeing B737 was transferred to PIA permanently. The President and Prime Minister then resorted to using two of PIA's Airbus A310-300 for official visits, while rare trips were done on regular commercial flights of the airline. In February 2007 the government of Qatar gifted one of their VIP fleet A310 to the Pakistani government, this has ended the need for use of PIA aircraft. However, from time to time the government uses the airline's Boeing 737 or Airbus A310 for official trips.
Since it began services, seven Pakistan International Airlines flights have crashed. PIA has a record of 5.00 fatalities per million flights.
|Founded||1946 (as Orient Airways)|
|Hubs|| Jinnah International Airport|
Allama Iqbal International Airport
Islamabad International Airport
|Focus cities|| Peshawar International Airport|
Multan International Airport
Faisalabad International Airport
|Frequent flyer program||PIA Awards Plus +|
|Company slogan||Come Fly With Us|
|Parent company||Ministry of Defence (Government of Pakistan)|
|Key people|| Ahmad Mukhtar (Chairman) |
Cpt. Aijaz Haroon (MD)
Pakistan International Airlines Corporation, more commonly known as Pakistan International Airlines or PIA (Urdu: پی آئی اے or پاکستان انٹرنیشنل ایرلاینز), is the flag carrier and national airline of Pakistan.