Orient Airways

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Orient Airways
Founded 1946
Commenced operations 4 June 1947
Ceased operations 11 March 1955
Fleet size 10 Douglas DC-3
3 Convair 240
Headquarters Calcutta, Bengal, India
Key people Mirza Ahmad Ispahani (Chairman)

Orient Airways Ltd. was an airline established in 1946 with its base in Calcutta, Bengal, British India. It was the first and only Muslim owned airline in India and flew from 1947 to 1955.[1][2]


The airline was registered in Calcutta, British India on 23 October 1946. The initial investment was provided by the Ispahani, Adamjee, and the Arag group. Mirza Ahmad Ispahani, being its first Chairman, and Air Vice Marshal O.K. Carter, the General Manager, obtained an operating licence on May 1947. Four Douglas DC-3s were obtained from Tempo, Texas in February 1947 and operations first started on 4 June 1947. The designated route was Kolkata-Sittwe (then known as Akyab)-Yangon (Myanmar), which also happened to be the first post-war international operation to be flown by an airline registered in India.

Orient Airways, along with the help of some chartered BOAC aircraft, started relief operations and transportation of the population between Delhi and Karachi, the capitals of India and Pakistan, respectively. Later, Orient Airways transferred its base to Pakistan and established the vital link between Karachi and Dhaka (Dacca). With a skeleton fleet of just two DC-3s, three crew and twelve mechanics, Orient Airways re-launched its scheduled operations. The initial routes were Karachi-Lahore-Peshawar, Karachi-Quetta-Lahore, Faisalabad and Karachi-Delhi-Kolkata-Dhaka. By the end of 1949, Orient Airways had acquired 10 DC-3s and 3 Convair 240s which it operated on these particular routes. In 1950, it had become increasingly apparent that additional capacity would have to be inducted in order to cater to the growing needs of the sub-continent.

On 11 March 1955, the government of Pakistan merged Orient Airways with other airlines to form Pakistan International Airlines.


Orient Airways aircraft had a green strip with the word "Orient Airways" or "Orient Skyliner". The tail was marked with the flag of Pakistan after the partition of India.[3]

See also[edit]