Pakistan International Airlines
|Founded||29 October 1946Orient Airways)(as|
|Frequent-flyer program||PIA Awards Plus|
|Company slogan||We Fly at the Right Attitude|
|Parent company||Aviation Division (Government of Pakistan)|
|Headquarters||Jinnah International Airport|
|Revenue||Rs. 68.88 billion PKR (Third Quarter Report 2017) |
|Net income||Rs. (30.48) billion PKR (Third Quarter Report 2017) |
Pakistan International Airlines (Urdu: پاکستان انٹرنیشنل ایئر لائنز) commonly referred by PIA (Urdu: پیآئیاے) is the national flag carrier of Pakistan. Its main hub is Karachi while Lahore and Islamabad serve as secondary hubs.
The airline was founded on 29 October 1946 as Orient Airways, initially based in Calcutta, India, before shifting operations to the newly independent state of Pakistan in 1947. It was nationalized and merged with other airlines in 1955, and Pakistan International Airlines Corporation came into existence. The airline commenced international services in 1955 to London, via Cairo and Rome. PIA was one of the first Asian airlines to fly the Lockheed Super Constellation, and was the first non-communist airline to fly to China. PIA was the second Asian airline ( after Air India ) to acquire jet aircraft by inducting a Boeing 707. In 2004, PIA became the launch customer of the Boeing 777-200LR. Since 2016, PIA has been slated for privatization to shift management to the private sector.
PIA is Pakistan's largest airline, and operates a fleet of more than 30 aircraft. The airline operates scheduled services to 25 domestic destinations and 28 international destinations across Asia, Europe, Middle East and North America along with 19 interline destinations. It operates nearly 100 flights daily.
The airline employed nearly 14,000 people in 2015, and has overall punctuality of 88%. In addition to commercial flight operations, PIA also owns The Roosevelt Hotel in New York City, and the Sofitel Paris Scribe Hotel in Paris.
- 1 History
- 2 Corporate management
- 3 Destinations
- 4 Fleet
- 5 Services
- 6 Cargo operations
- 7 Corporate sponsorship
- 8 Charter and special services
- 9 Accidents and incidents
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 Bibliography
- 13 External links
Pakistan International Airlines can trace its origins to the days when Pakistan had not yet gained independence from the British Raj. In 1945, the country's founder Muhammed Ali Jinnah realized the need for a flag carrier for the prospective country and requested financial help from wealthy businessmen Mirza Ahmad Ispahani and Adamjee Haji Dawood for this purpose. Around that time, a new airline Orient Airways, was registered in Calcutta (now Kolkata) on 23 October 1946. In February 1947, the airline bought three Douglas DC-3 aircraft and obtained a license to fly in May of the same year. The airline started its operations in June, offering services from Calcutta to Sittwe and Rangoon (present-day Yangon). On 14 August 1947, Pakistan gained independence and Orient Airways started relief operations for the new country. It was the first and only Muslim owned airline in the British Raj and flew from 1947 to 1955.
On 6 June 1954, Orient Airways started its operations by offering flight services between East- and West Pakistan, with service from Karachi to Dhaka. In addition, the airline also introduced two new domestic routes: Karachi–Lahore–Peshawar and Karachi–Quetta–Lahore. However, due to sustained losses being suffered by the airline, the Government of Pakistan proposed that Orient Airways merge with a new national airline. On 11 March 1955, Orient Airways merged with the government's proposed airline, becoming Pakistan International Airlines Corporation. The newly formed airline also inaugurated its first international route, Karachi-London Heathrow Airport via Cairo and Rome, using four newly acquired Lockheed L-1049C Super Constellations. The airline continued using DC-3s on domestic routes in Pakistan. In May 1956, PIA ordered five Vickers Viscount 815s.
The appointment of Air Marshal Nur Khan as the Managing Director of PIA in 1959 heralded an era of success for PIA. In March 1960, PIA wet-leased a Boeing 707 from Pan American airlines, thereby becoming the second Asian airline after Air India to induct a jet aircraft in its fleet. With the newly acquired aircraft, the airline introduced its first trans-Atlantic route Karachi-New York via London in 1961. In 1962, it expanded its fleet by placing orders for Boeing 720s, Fokker F27 Friendships, and Sikorsky helicopters. On 2 January 1962, a PIA Boeing 720B flown by Captain Abdullah Baig from London to Karachi established a world record for speed over a commercial airline route for powered landplanes of 938.78 km/h (582.98 mph), a record which still holds to this day.
From 1962 to 1966, PIA operated its Sikorsky S-61 helicopters for services within East Pakistan (present day Bangladesh). These were retired in 1966 and a reduced network of eight cities was served by Fokker F27 aircraft. Upon the establishment of ties between Pakistan and the People's Republic of China, PIA started flying to Beijing in 1964, becoming the first airline of a non-communist country flying to the People's Republic of China. At the outbreak of Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, the Pakistani Armed Forces used PIA's services for logistics and transport purposes. The Viscounts were phased out in 1966 and were replaced by four Hawker Siddeley Tridents.
The '70s was marked by resumption of transatlantic flights, introduction of new destinations, appointment of Nur Khan as its executive for the second term, and the beginning of a financially successful period for the airline. When the political situation in East Pakistan (present day Bangladesh) started deteriorating in early 70s, the Pakistan Army once again used PIA's services to airlift soldiers and ammunition to East Pakistan. Most flights had to detour to Sri Lanka during trips between West Pakistan and East Pakistan. With the establishment of cordial ties between the Libyan and Pakistani governments in early 70s, PIA added a new international route, Tripoli, to its map in 1972. It also signed an agreement with Yugoslav airline JAT. PIA acquired McDonnell Douglas DC-10s in 1973 and used the aircraft to replace Boeing 707-300s. In 1974, PIA launched Pakistan International Cargo, offering air freight and cargo services. In 1975, PIA introduced new uniforms for air hostesses which were chosen through an open competition, with the winning entry designed by Sir Hardy Amies, the designer of Queen Elizabeth II.
The later half of the decade witnessed further expansion of PIA's fleet with the introduction of Boeing 747s through either leased or purchased aircraft. During this decade PIA was regarded as Asia's best airline. For the first time since its inauguration, PIA started providing technical and administrative assistance or leased aircraft to foreign airlines including Somali Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Air Malta and Yemenia. A subsidiary of PIA also started providing hotel management services in United Arab Emirates towards the end of the decade.
The 1980s decade began with the opening of a cargo handling centre at Karachi airport, duty-free shops, the first C and D safety checks on its entire fleet, as well as the introduction of airline's first Airbus A300B4-203 aircraft. In 1984, the airline introduced Night-Coach service as a low-cost alternative to day-time domestic flights. In the following years, PIA Planetarium was inaugurated in Karachi which was followed by planetariums in Lahore and Peshawar. These planetariums featured retired PIA aircraft on display for educational or observational purposes. Two more retired Boeing 720B aircraft were donated to the planetariums in Karachi and Lahore later on.
Also in 1985, five new Boeing 737-300s were introduced to PIA's fleet, making PIA the first Asian airline with such a diverse aircraft fleet. In late 1987 and early 1988, services to Malé and Toronto were introduced. In 1990, First Officer Maliha Sami became the first female pilot of PIA when she took off on the Karachi-Panjgur-Turbat-Gwadar route.
In the mid-1980s, PIA also helped establish Emirates by leasing two of its aircraft - an Airbus A300 and a Boeing 737-300 - as well as providing technical and administrative assistance to the new carrier.
In March 1993, AVM Farooq Umar became MD PIA and also open skies from Karachi to Dubai were declared and 12 private air lines were allowed to operate domestically in Pakistan. Both steps came simultaneously and put great pressure on PIA's financial performance. Farooq Umar to meet the challenge, fought the battle of open skies and opened up six new routes to the Persian Gulf and CIS countries along with tourists attraction 'air safari'. He also made major changes in routes and schedules and started non stop flights from Lahore and Islamabad to JFK and Canada. PIA added Jakarta, Fujairah, Baku and Al-Ain to its destinations in 1994. In addition, PIA became a client of three flight-reservation systems, namely: Sabre, Galileo and Amadeus. 'Air Safari' flights were launched in 1994 using Boeing 737–300 aircraft that used to fly over the Karakoram mountain range. Farooq Umar handed over PIA to another MD in March 1996, closing his tenure with great success and leaving PIA profitable with a profit for the previous six months of more than 55 million PKR. After his departure PIA started to nose dive. PIA purchased a Boeing 747 flight simulator to train its pilots. It also purchased another used Airbus A300 aircraft. A Tupolev Tu-154 aircraft was also leased briefly in 1996 to cope with a surge in passenger traffic during summer 1996. Flights to Beirut were resumed the same year as well.
In 1999, PIA leased five Boeing 747-300 aircraft from Cathay Pacific to replace its Boeing 747-200M fleet. The aircraft were painted with a new livery, a handwork Pashmina tail, on white body and large Pakistan titles on the front fuselage. The livery was adopted in early 90s but due to some copyright issues it 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 early 1990s livery.
In July 2002, PIA purchased six Boeing 747-300 aircraft from Cathay Pacific, five of which were already on lease. The sixth one arrived shortly afterwards and was used mainly on its North American and European routes. In October 2002, after a period of ten years without any new orders, the airline placed an order for eight Boeing 777 aircraft. The order included all three variants of 777, i.e. 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.
Boeing delivered the first of three 777-200ER aircraft to PIA in January 2004. PIA introduced a new livery for the 777-200ERs that was applied to most of its fleet. PIA also leased six more Airbus A310-300 aircraft directly from Airbus. On 3 November 2005, PIA placed an order to purchase seven ATR 42-500 aircraft to replace its aging fleet of Fokker F27 Friendships. On 6 December 2005, PIA acquired another new Boeing 777-200ER on a ten-year lease. The aircraft was delivered in January 2007 to the airline.
On 25 February 2006, Boeing delivered its first 777-200LR to PIA, when it flew from Everett to Islamabad via Manchester. With the induction of long range aircraft in its fleet, PIA started offering non-stop flights from Toronto to Karachi, Islamabad, and Lahore from 3 March 2006. PIA had also planned non-stop flights to New York, Chicago, Washington, and Houston but was not given permission by US authorities (unless the airline implemented a European stopover on the flight to American cities). Washington service ended in the 1990s, Houston services ended in 2006, Chicago service ended in 2012, and New York service ended in 2017.
ATR delivered two of the seven ordered ATR 42s to PIA in May and December 2006 respectively, following which the airline ceased using military Lockheed C-130 Hercules for passenger services in northern areas of Pakistan. The military aircraft were being used after the PIA Flight 688 accident. On 23 December 2006, PIA took delivery of its first Boeing 777-300ER.
On 5 March 2007, the European Commission banned all but 9 of PIA's 42-strong fleet from flying to Europe citing safety concerns over its aging aircraft. The ban was imposed following an on-site visit led by Federico Grandini, the European Commission’s Air Safety Administrator. The fleet of Boeing 777s was exempted from the ban. PIA claimed that the ban was discriminatory and unjustifiable. On 26 March 2007, Tariq Saeed Kirmani was forced to resign after pressure from higher authorities because of the EU ban. Zafar Khan was appointed as the new chairman of Pakistan International Airlines.
The ban on some of the aircraft was lifted after a period of four months on 5 July 2007, following an inspection by the European Union Air Safety Administration. Of the eleven aircraft, five were Boeing 747-300s and the remaining six were Airbus A310-300s. On 29 November 2007, the EU completely removed the ban and PIA's entire fleet was permitted to fly to Europe. To avoid such an incident in future, PIA signed a deal to lease seven new Airbus A320-200s. The aircraft were supposed to be delivered during 2008 and 2009 but the deal was cancelled.
In 2010, PIA altered its livery. The tail design was replaced with a much larger version of the Pakistan national flag, and added the text "Pakistan International" in gold writing underneath the large billboard style PIA on the fuselage. The green stripe was modified to include gold and was extended to the rear of the fuselage.
In 2014, PIA leased four Boeing 737-800s. PIA also issued a request for tender for four Boeing 777-300ERs. The airline also wanted to lease four ATR aircraft. However, the bids for the 777s were not accepted due to bidding standards. Later, The airline managed to lease Airbus A320 aircraft, and inducted two A320-214 series aircraft in its fleet in 2014. Another wet leased A320-211 aircraft joined PIA on 11 August 2014. In October 2014, the airline again wet leased three Boeing 737-800 aircraft, and it also accepted bids to dry lease five ATR 72-500 series aircraft for an eight-year period. In 2015, after serving PIA for 16 years, the Boeing 747-300s were phased out.
In August 2016, PIA launched a new "Premier Service" for flights to London, using an Airbus A330-300 wet-leased from SriLankan Airlines. The wet-lease period ended after 6 months and as a result, the A330-300 was returned to SriLankan Airlines.
The remaining order for five Boeing 777-300ERs made in 2002 was postponed indefinitely. In January 2017, PIA retired all of the Airbus A310-300s from its fleet. For replacement, PIA leased four Boeing 737-800 from Pegasus Airlines which were returned later on completion of the lease period.
In 2017, PIA decided to replace its reservation and ticketing system "Sabre" with a Turkish origin system called "Hitit". Both PIA & Hiti signed an agreement and in September 2018, the airline successfully switched to the new system.
Pakistan International Airlines Corporation Limited (PIACL) is majority owned by the Government of Pakistan (87%) while the remainder (13%) by private shareholders. The airline is under the administration of Ministry of Defence. The airline is managed by managing director as well as the Board of Directors. The Board consists of nine independent non-executive members and has four sub-committees: an Audit Committee, Brand and Advertising Committee, Finance Committee, and Human Resource Committee each having its own charter and chairman. The MD leads the executive management of staff who run the airline. The airline's main headquarters are located at Karachi Airport while 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 its privatization 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 privatization of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). However, no agreement was reached. The government has had many plans for the privatization of the State owned airline. However, no reasonable agreement or solution has been found to this day. On 18 February 2009 the carrier was dropped from the privatization list. 
In 2013, Government of Pakistan once again aimed to privatize the airline due to increased losses by selling twenty-six percent of shares & management control to the investor. This plan was dropped due to heavy protest by airline unions and associations in which two employees were dead when security forces were tasked to stop the protesters for their movement towards Jinnah International Airport terminal building.
In 2018, the newly elected government aimed not to privatize the entity and make it a profitable through the change in its top management.
The following table gives the key financial results for 2011 along with those since 2004. The financial performance for FY 2011 continues to be a challenge with an after-tax loss of PKR 26.767 billion. This was preceded by six consecutive loss-making years dating back to 2005. The airline did report a reduction of post-tax losses of 83% in 2009 (compared to 2008) based on a reduction in fuel cost, comparatively stable exchange rate for the Pakistan Rupee and higher revenues. But in 2010 & 2011, losses again rose sharply compared to the previous years.
To increase revenue, the Prime Minister of Pakistan approved a fleet modernisation, consisting of twenty new-generation narrow-body aircraft; four Boeing 777-300ERs and four ATR 72-500 turboprops. These aircraft will replace the older fleet of PIA. An A310 consumes $5,500 of oil whereas a 737-900ER would consume $2,500 worth of oil. In addition, with a load factor of 85% and 12.5 hours of aircraft usage daily, an additional 72 billion rupees or 720 million dollars of revenue would be achieved. This will also greatly decrease the employee-to-aircraft ratio which currently sits at 776 per aircraft, one of the highest in the world. Moreover, the Boeing 777 will be used on long routes instead of short routes. This would help reduce the cost of engine overhaul, which is based on flight cycles. Lastly, 35 employees making 1 million rupees per month will also be audited.
|Year||Revenues (PKR in Million)||Profit/(Loss) (PKR in Million)||Employees (Ave.)|
In recent years, PIA's revenue and source of income has been dropping significantly. In 2010, PIA carried 1,454,000 kg of mail. In 2013, PIA managed just 648,000 kg of mail. Additionally, PIA's revenue from excess baggage, passenger load factor, and passenger kilometer flow have been declining steadily.
|Year||Revenue Passengers (Million)||Passenger Load Factor||Average Passenger Stage Distance (Statute KM)|
In 2011, about 81% of revenue was from passenger traffic and only 5% from cargo. Another 7.8% was from food and beverage sales. The remaining 6% was from various sources such as excess baggage charges, air charter services, aircraft maintenance engineering services, ground handling and related services, and carriage of mail.
As of September 2018, PIA serves 25 domestic and 28 international destinations in 20 countries across Asia, Middle East, Europe and North America. Dubai is a major focus city for the airline with flights from Dera Ghazi Khan, Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Peshawar, and Quetta.
- Air Canada
- Air China
- Air France
- All Nippon Airways
- Malaysia Airlines
- Scandinavian Airlines
- SriLankan Airlines
- Swiss International Air Lines
|Airbus A320-200||4||—||–||–||180||180||Two aircraft painted in 1960s retro livery|
|Boeing 777-200ER||4||—||35||54||240||329||One aircraft painted in 1960's retro livery|
|Boeing 777-200LR||2||—||35||60||215||310||Launch customer|
In December 2003, PIA introduced a new image that was applied to its first Boeing 777-200ER and on two newly leased Airbus A310s, 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 a new typeface PIA acronym written in dark green. The Pakistan title was added to the front fuselage in all raised letters and the engine cowlings were painted in beige. The PIA logo 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. The tail logo was replaced by a flowing Pakistan flag on a beige background. The "Pakistan" titles were removed and the PIA acronym was enlarged and moved onto the fuselage. The English and Urdu PIA titles remained the same. The leased A310s and most of the PIA fleet also adopted this livery at a later date.
In early 2006, the airline launched four new tail designs for its fleet. The tails represented the four provinces of Pakistan: Sindh, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa 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, which 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 local kilims, carpets, and rugs woven with wool, goat or camel hair and mixed yarn. The pattern was mostly bold geometric motifs in primary colors dominated by red. The "Sindh" tail was influenced by the Hala tile work with electric blue and white floral patterns. In 2009 management stopped the application of provincial tails, deeming them too costly.
PIA launched its new livery in early April 2010. An Airbus A310, Boeing 777–200 and Boeing 747–300 were the first aircraft to wear the new look. The livery was unveiled at the PIA headquarters on a Boeing 777 model. The livery consisted of a green and gold strip running around the bottom of the fuselage and continuing right up until the tail cone. The forward/upper portion was white and at the rear, it was an off-white/beige color. The bottom part of the tail blended into the upper fuselage as it too is white, with the rest of the tail painted with a large wavy Pakistan flag, which takes up the whole tail, in a dark green color. At the front of the fuselage 'PIA' was written in a billboard style in dark green and underneath 'Pakistan' was written in golden color. Just behind the cockpit, there is a stylized Urdu PIA logo as well as on the engines.
In July 2014, on the delivery of the first A320 series aircraft, PIA introduced a "crescent and star" on the aircraft engines' cowlings in place of the Urdu PIA logo. Same time, the airline introduced a new logo with bold "PAKISTAN" title, and "International Airlines" written under it, but never branded any of aircraft with this new logo. The airline then slogan "Great People to Fly With" was also written under company name titles. A green & golden streak was also part of this change. In 2015, after the completion of sixty years service, 1960s livery was rebranded on three of the Airbus A320s and on one Boeing 777-200ER.
In April 2018, PIA formally introduced a new livery and added a portrait of the Markhor, Pakistan's national animal, on its aircraft, including a large one on the tail and two on the engines, highlighting the country’s commitment to preserve the endangered species. The tail had a jumping ibex having long screw horns. According to the initial plan, a euro-white style was chosen and existing green and golden strips were removed from the aircraft fuselage along with off-white/beige color on the rear fuselage, but later a major rebranding was carried out. The font of the PIA logo was also changed and added to the fuselage. PIA acronym is written in a Russian font named "Arkhip Bold" and company slogan in "Exo Semi-Bold" font. For the first time, legacy PIA colors (Pakstan green & mustard gold) were dropped and blue texture was added in the "PIA" acronym. Urdu PIA logo color was also changed from the yellow-green texture. The airlines' slogan was also changed to "We Fly at the Right Attitude". The redesigned aircraft was to make a debut at the inauguration of the New Islamabad International Airport. The rebranding attempt failed due to the highly negative reaction by the public as the national flag on the tail was replaced with an animal logo. The Supreme Court of Pakistan took suo motu notice and barred PIA from using the ibex logo as brand identity. Currently, the airline is operating with a hybrid brand identity.
|Boeing 747-200B Combi||1979||2011|
|de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter||1970||2001|
|Fokker F27 Friendship||1961||2006|
|Hawker Siddeley Trident 1E||1966||1970|
|Lockheed L-100-382B-4C Hercules||1966||1966|
|Lockheed L-1049C Super Constellation||1954||1969|
|Lockheed L-1049H Super Constellation||1958||1969|
|McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30||1974||1986|
|Vickers Viscount 815||1956||1966|
PIA operates a three-class configuration on its domestic routes: Business, Economy Plus+ and Economy. On international flights a two class configuration, Business and Economy class, has remained popular. PIA Business passengers are offered lie-flat bed seats on all Boeing 777 aircraft. Recliners are offered on board the Airbus A320 aircraft. In Economy Class, all passengers on the Boeing 777 are offered seats with a 31-inch legroom and personal entertainment screens in a 3-3-3 configuration. On the Airbus A320, leather seats in a 3-3 configuration are offered.
PIA Catering is the main supplier of meals for the airline. It can produce 15,000 passenger meals each day. However, since 2006, the management of the flight kitchens has been given to Singapore Air Terminal Services (SATS).
PIA Premier service
PIA Premier was launched as a luxury air service on 14 August 2016. An Airbus A330 aircraft was initially wet-leased from SriLankan Airlines to operate the service. There were six weekly flights to London, three each from Islamabad and Lahore. PIA ended the service due to losses and the A330 was returned to SriLankan.
The PIA in-flight magazine, Humsafar (Urdu for "travel companion"), is provided to all passengers on all flights. Humsafar was introduced in 1980 and is printed and published in-house bi-monthly.
In January 2017, the airline began trials on an on-board intranet system to deliver in-flight entertainment on some domestic flights. The system allows passengers to access a selection of in-flight entertainment content using their own mobile devices.
Frequent Flyer Program
PIA Awards Plus+ is the frequent flyer program. The program allows passengers to get free tickets, excess baggage vouchers, cabin upgrades, and a variety of rewards, special deals, and discounts. 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 operates a cargo delivery system within Pakistan. PIA Cargo transports goods across Pakistan as well as to international destinations. These include meat and vegetables, textiles, paper products, laboratory equipment and postal mail.
During the early 1970s, PIA operated a service called "Air Express" that delivered documents and parcels within Pakistan. In 1974, PIA launched a dedicated cargo division within its organisation using two Boeing 707-320C. This division was known as "Pakistan International Cargo". The airline operated a number of cargo flights to the Middle East such as Dubai and Europe especially London. The operations ended in the late 1990s when both aircraft were phased out. During 2004 to 2007, the airline did again operate two Airbus A300 Freighter aircraft chartered through MNG Airlines to Haan. Luton, Amsterdam, Basel and Cologne. However again the contract ended and PIA discontinued this service.
In 2003, the airline launched "PIA Speedex", a courier service in Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Islamabad initially. This later expanded twelve cities within a year. Today, the airline offers over 70 locations within Pakistan, with shipments collected and delivered from customers homes.
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 the Pakistan International Airlines first-class cricket team that plays in the Quaid-i-Azam Trophy and Patron's Trophy. PIA sponsors the PIA football club, and 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 strategic alliance to promote world money transfers.
PIA has Planetariums in Karachi and Lahore that 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 McDonald's, 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.
Charter and special services
PIA operates private charter flights using ATR 42s to Bhit, Kadanwari and Sehwan Sharif in Sindh as well as to other parts of the country for oil and gas companies and other customers. Ad hoc charters for United Nations peacekeeping troops are also carried out to Africa and Eastern Europe, Asia (South Korea, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, East Timor) and many other international destinations; PIA Charter Team provides these services.
Hajj and Umrah operations
PIA operates a two-month (pre- and post-) Hajj operation each year to and from Jeddah and Madinah in Saudi Arabia. PIA transported over 100,000 intending pilgrims each year from Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Quetta, Faisalabad, Multan and Sialkot to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia until its fleet shrank to 25 aircraft in 2011-2012. Since then, the airline's Hajj quota was reduced to 60,00 to 70,000 pilgrims by the then government.
State officials transportation
PIA has been continuously serving government officials of Pakistan, and has always transported the President and Prime Minister 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 737-300 was transferred to PIA permanently. The President and Prime Minister then resorted to using two of PIA's Airbus A310-300s for official visits, while rare trips were done on regular commercial flights of the airline. In February 2007 the government of Qatar gifted an Airbus A310 from its VIP fleet to the Pakistani government, this ended the need for the use of PIA aircraft. However, from time to time the government uses one of the airline's Airbus A320s, or occasionally a Boeing 777, for official trips.
Accidents and incidents
Pakistan International Airlines experienced its first recorded hull loss in 1956: a Douglas DC-3 flew into a mountain on 25 February that year while on a cargo flight from Gilgit to Islamabad in poor weather, killing the three crew members on board. Since then the airline has lost more than thirty aircraft in crashes and other events, including another twenty fatal crashes. There have also been at least eight hijacking incidents involving the airline's aircraft between 1971 and 2017.
- On 1 July 1957, a Douglas DC-3 registered AP-AJS, operating a domestic flight from Chittagong to Dhaka in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), crashed on a mudflat in the Bay of Bengal, killing all twenty passengers and four crew members on board.
- On 15 May 1958, a Convair CV-240 with the registration AP-AEH, operating as Flight 205 from Delhi to Karachi, crashed and caught fire moments after it took off from Delhi's Palam Airport on a moonless night in dusty conditions. The investigation attributed the crash to the captain experiencing a night somatogravic illusion, resulting in the aircraft descending shortly after it became airborne. Four of the six crew members and twenty-one of the thirty-eight passengers on board were killed; two people on the ground were also killed.
- On 18 May 1959, a four-month-old Vickers Viscount with the registration AP-AJC was damaged beyond economic repair in a landing accident at Islamabad International Airport. The aircraft ran off the runway into a rainwater channel; there were no fatalities.
- Three months after the first Viscount crash, the airline lost another on 14 August 1959. The Viscount (registered AP-AJE) crashed at Karachi International Airport during a pilot training flight, while attempting an overshoot with two engines inoperative. Two of the three people on board were killed.
- On 26 March 1965 a Douglas DC-3 registered AP-AAH crashed in mountainous terrain near the Lowari Pass on a domestic flight from Peshawar to Chitral, killing the four crew members and eighteen of the twenty-two passengers on board.
- Eight weeks later on 20 May 1965, a Boeing 720 operating as Flight 705 crashed while descending to land on Runway 34 at Cairo International Airport, resulting in 121 fatalities.
- On 8 October 1965 a Fokker F27 Friendship, with less than 500 hours' flying time since it was delivered new to the airline earlier in the year, crashed while on a domestic cargo flight from Rawalpindi to Skardu. The aircraft, registered AP-ATT, hit a ridge near the village of Patian and slid down its side, the remains coming to rest more than 1,000 feet (300 m) below the impact point. The four crew members on board were killed.
- On 2 February 1966 Flight 17, operated by a Sikorsky S-61 helicopter, crashed on a scheduled domestic flight in East Pakistan after the main gearbox failed, killing 23 of the 24 passengers and crew on board.
- On 6 August 1970, a Fokker F27 Friendship registered AP-ALM, operating a domestic flight from Rawalpindi to Lahore, crashed at high speed a few minutes after taking off from Lahore in stormy weather. All twenty-six passengers and four crew members on board were killed.
- On 6 December 1972, a Fokker F27 Friendship registered AP-AUS, operating a domestic flight between Gilgit and Rawalpindi in rainy weather as Flight 631, crashed in mountainous terrain. There were no survivors among the twenty-two passengers and four crew members on board.
- On 20 January 1978, a PIA aircraft at Karachi with 22 passengers on board was hijacked by a gunman who asked to be flown to India. The then chairman of PIA, Air Marshal (Retd) Nur Khan boarded the aircraft to negotiate with the hijacker. He received a gunshot wound while trying to disarm the hijacker but still managed to overpower him.
- On 26 November 1979 Flight 740 was a Boeing 707-320C that crashed after takeoff from Jeddah International Airport for a flight to Karachi, resulting in 156 fatalities.
- On 2 March 1981 Flight 326 was hijacked by three gunmen and flown to Kabul. For almost two weeks, more than 100 passengers were held captive on the Boeing 720 until Pakistan released 55 prisoners. One passenger, Pakistani diplomat Tariq Rahim, was murdered during the ordeal.
- On 23 October 1986, a Fokker F27 aircraft crashed during approach to Peshawar Airport. Of the 54 passengers and crew on board, 13 were killed in the accident.
- On 4 February 1986, AP-AYW made belly landing at Islamabad Airport around 9:00 am. The Boeing 747 was arriving as PIA flight PK-300 from Karachi with 247 passengers and 17 crew members on board. Everyone survived this accident caused by pilot error.
- On 25 August 1989, a Fokker F27 operating as Flight 404 crashed into a mountain after taking off from Gilgit Airport. All 54 passengers and crew on board were killed.
- On 28 September 1992 Flight 268, an Airbus Airbus A300B4-200 registration AP-BCP, crashed on approach to Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport. All 167 on board were killed.
- On 25 May 1998 a Fokker F27 Friendship operating as Flight 544 was hijacked. All passengers and crew escaped unhurt during the incident.
- On 10 July 2006 Flight 688, a Fokker F27 operating from Multan to Lahore and then to Islamabad, crashed in a field. after bursting into flames a few minutes after takeoff from Multan International Airport. All 41 passengers and 4 crew members on board were killed.
- On 31 August 2012, ATR 42-500 registration AP-BHJ, operating Flight 653 from Islamabad to Lahore, was landing at Allama Iqbal International Airport when it undershot the runway and came to rest on a grassy area on the right side of Runway 36R. There were no fatalities among the 42 passengers and 4 crew members. The aircraft was damaged beyond repair and withdrawn from service.
- On 11 February 2013, a Boeing 737 aircraft registered AP-BEH was operating Flight 259 from Islamabad to Muscat via Sialkot when its port side main landing gear collapsed during landing at Muscat International Airport. There were no fatalities among the 107 passengers and 7 crew members on board the aircraft. The aircraft was damaged beyond repair and withdrawn from service
- On 24 June 2014 Airbus A310-300 registration AP-BGN was operating Flight 756 from Riyadh to Peshawar with 178 passengers and 12 crew members on board, when hit by gunfire during its landing approach at Bacha Khan International Airport, Peshawar. The aircraft landed safely but one passenger was killed and two crew members were injured. The aircraft was damaged but it was later ferried to Karachi for repair.
- On 7 December 2016, Flight 661, operated by an ATR 42-500 aircraft registered AP-BHO, crashed in Havelian, Pakistan while en route from Chitral to Islamabad, killing all 47 on board, including Junaid Jamshed.
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