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Pakistan International Airlines

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Pakistan International Airlines
پاکستان انٹرنیشنل ایئر لائنز
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded29 October 1946; 77 years ago (1946-10-29)
(as Orient Airways)
Commenced operations11 March 1955; 69 years ago (1955-03-11)
(as Pakistan International Airlines)
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer programAwards Plus
SubsidiariesRoosevelt Hotel (New York)
Fleet size32
Parent companyAviation Division, GoP[2]
HeadquartersJinnah International Airport, Karachi
Key people
RevenueIncrease Rs. 950 billion (US$3.3 billion) (2024)[3]
Operating incomeIncrease Rs. 583 billion (US$2.0 billion) (2024)[3]
Net incomeIncrease Rs. 625 billion (US$2.2 billion) (2024)[3]
Total assetsIncrease Rs. 678 billion (US$2.3 billion) (2024)[3]

Pakistan International Airlines (Urdu: پاکستان انٹرنیشنل ایئر لائنز; abbreviated PIA, Urdu: پی‌آئی‌اے) is an international airline which is the government-owned flag carrier of Pakistan. Its primary hub is Karachi's Jinnah International Airport, while Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore and Islamabad International Airport serve as secondary hubs.

PIA was founded on 29 October 1946 by Shanaz as Orient Airways, and was initially based in Calcutta, British India, before shifting operations to the newly independent state of Pakistan in 1947. Orient Airways was nationalised to form the Pakistan International Airlines Corporation (PIAC).[4] The new airline commenced international services in 1955 to London, via Cairo and Rome.[5] In 1964 it became the first non-Communist airline to fly to China.[6] The airline assisted in the establishment of Emirates in 1985.[7] In 2004, PIA became the launch customer of the Boeing 777-200LR.[8][9] On 10 November 2005, PIA used the Boeing 777-200LR to complete the world's longest nonstop flight by a commercial airliner. This flight lasted 22 hours and 22 minutes on the eastbound route between Hong Kong and London.[10][11]

PIA is Pakistan's largest airline and operates a fleet of 32 aircraft. The airline operates a frequent flyer program, Awards +Plus. It is not part of any airline alliance.[12] The airline operates nearly 50 flights daily, servicing 20 domestic destinations and 27 international destinations across Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America.[13] It is under the administrative control of the Secretary to the Government of Pakistan for Aviation.

In addition to commercial flight operations, PIA also owns the Sofitel Paris, The Scribe Hotel in Paris,[14] and The Roosevelt Hotel in New York City. The Roosevelt is now used as a homeless shelter.[15]

On 30 June 2020, PIA was banned from flying in European airspace initially for six months, starting on 1 July 2020, and then indefinitely after EASA determined that the airline was not capable of certifying and overseeing its operators and aircraft in accordance with applicable international standards.[16][17] This decision was made soon after it was revealed that at least a fourth of all pilot's licences issued in Pakistan were not genuine.[18] By 9 July 2020, the airline was also banned by the United Kingdom and the United States.[19]

Early years

Passengers and bystanders with an Orient Airways Douglas DC-3 on the occasion of the arrival of the Burmese High Commissioner to India at Calcutta, circa 1947

Pakistan International Airlines can trace its origins to the days when Pakistan had not gained independence and was still part of the British Raj until 1947. In the early 1930s, Imperial Airways operated its long-haul routes by creating a lot of small airports across Africa and Asia. The Handley Page H.P.42 aircraft was Imperial Airways' first major success, as it was specially designed to handle operations from unprepared ground.

In 1945, the country's founder Muhammed Ali Jinnah realised 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.[20] As a result, the new airline, Orient Airways, was registered in Kolkata (then known as Calcutta) on 23 October 1946.[20] Orient became the first and only Muslim-owned airline in the British Raj.[21][22]

In February 1947, the airline bought three Douglas DC-3 aircraft and obtained a licence to fly in May of the same year.[20] The airline started its operations on 30 June 1947, offering services in British India from Calcutta to Sittwe and Rangoon (present-day Yangon).[23]



On 14 August 1947, Pakistan gained independence and Orient Airways started relief operations for the new country. The airline was entrusted with the task of servicing air routes between East and West Pakistan.[20] By 1949, Orient acquired three Convair CV-240s to service the Karachi-Delhi-Kolkata-Dhaka route and became the first Asian airline to operate Convair aircraft.[20]



Orient's traffic continuously declined until 1953 as Great Britain's BOAC had been granted rights to carry passengers between the two wings of Pakistan, while two other local competitors also began serving Orient routes.[20] As a result of losses, the Pakistani government began subsidising Orient's operations through a 1952 contract for the purchase of three Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellations registered to the government's newly established subsidiary, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), at the cost of 25 million rupees.[20] PIA had been established as a department of Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority, and was tasked with operation and maintenance of the new Lockheed aircraft.[20]

Pakistan's government established the Pakistan International Airlines Corporation through the merger of Orient Airways with Pakistan International Airlines on 1 October 1953 by an interim joint operating agreement in which the government assumed financial control of the airline, while Orient's operations and ground assets could be complemented by the aircraft of Pakistan International Airlines – although Orient Airways continued to operate under its name for a few more years.[20]

Pakistan's Ministry of Defence took over operations from the Civil Aviation Authority in early 1954, while the chairman of Orient Airways became the CEO of PIA, and foreign staff brought in to help relaunch the airline.[20] On 7 June 1954, Orient Airways began nonstop flight services between East and West Pakistan, with service from Karachi to Dhaka using Pakistan International Airlines' Lockheed aircraft that had been ordered in 1952 and delivered in early 1954. The route was subsidised by the government so that middle-class Pakistanis could afford to fly the route, with rates that may have been the lowest in the world at the time.[20] The airline also introduced two new domestic routes: Karachi–LahorePeshawar and Karachi–Quetta–Lahore.

On 11 March 1955, Orient Airways and Pakistan International Airlines were formally merged as part of the Pakistan International Airlines Corporation Ordinance, 1955. Orient Airways ceased operations while the Government of Pakistan took a majority holding in the airline.[20] The new PIA had a fleet of three L-I049C Super Constellations, two Convair CV-240s, and eleven DC-3s.[20]

The newly relaunched airline also inaugurated its first international route, Karachi-London Heathrow Airport[24] via Cairo and Rome, using the newly acquired Lockheed L-1049C Super Constellations. The airline continued using DC-3s on domestic routes in Pakistan. PIA carried 113,165 passengers in 1955 – 50% higher than in 1954.[20]

In May 1956, PIA ordered five Vickers Viscount 815s. The airline also entered into a partnership with PanAm to train PIA's personnel in 1956.[20] In 1957-1958, passenger numbers rose to 208,000, necessitating the purchase of 2 additional Lockheed Super Constellations.[20] The appointment of Air Marshal Nur Khan as the managing director of PIA in 1959 heralded an era of success for PIA.[25]


A Boeing 720 at Heathrow Airport on 24 June 1962[26]

In February 1960, PIA wet-leased a Boeing 707 from Pan American Airlines and introduced it onto the Karachi-London route on 7 March 1960 initially using Pan Am pilots,[27] thereby becoming the first Asian airline to induct and commercially operate a jet aircraft in its fleet.[27][28][6] An all-Pakistani crew began operation of the 707 from 20 June 1960 onwards.[20] By the end of 1960, PIA, for the first time, entered financial profitability.[20]

With the newly acquired aircraft, the airline introduced its first trans-Atlantic route Karachi-New York JFK (then known as Idlewild) via London Heathrow on 5 May 1961,[20] which was suspended in February 1963.[29] In 1961, it expanded its fleet by placing orders for 3 Boeing 720s, which were delivered in 1962.[20] On 2 January 1962, a PIA Boeing 720B flown by Captain Abdullah Beg from London to Karachi established a world record for speed over a commercial airline route of 938.78 km/h (582.98 mph), a record which still holds to this day.[30] Fokker F27 Friendships, and Sikorsky helicopters were also ordered and delivered in 1963, with the helicopters used to provide air service to 20 towns in East Pakistan until 1966.[20][31]

The helicopters were retired in 1966 and a reduced network of eight cities was served by Fokker F27 aircraft.[31] Upon the establishment of ties between Pakistan and the People's Republic of China, PIA started flying the Dhaka-Guangzhou-Shanghai route on 29 April 1964, becoming the first airline of a non-communist country flying to the People's Republic of China.[32][20] On 10 May 1964, PIA became the first non-Soviet airline offering flights to Europe via Moscow.[20]

At the outbreak of the 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.

PIA's route network grew rapidly in the mid to late 1960s: Dhahran was added in 1965, while Cairo services resumed. In 1966, Paris, Istanbul, Baghdad, Kuwait, Jeddah and Nairobi were added to PIA's routes. Bangkok was added in 1967, while Manila, Tokyo, and Damascus were added in 1969.[20]


PIA Fokker F27 Friendship at Chitral Airport arriving from Peshawar on 1 August 1972[33]
A PIA McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 taking off from Frankfurt Airport, West Germany, circa 1977

On 3 December 1971, a French national's attempt to hijack a PIA flight from Paris to Karachi was thwarted by French security forces.[34] Transatlantic flights to New York City were resumed in May 1972 with a stopover in Europe.[29] With the establishment of cordial ties between the Libyan and Pakistani governments in the early 1970s, PIA added Tripoli to its network in 1972. PIA also signed an agreement with Yugoslav airline JAT (today known as Air Serbia) in 1972 to lease two PIA Boeing 707s to JAT.[35]

PIA acquired McDonnell Douglas DC-10s in 1973 to replace its remaining Boeing 707-300s. Nur Khan was appointed as PIA executive for the second term in 1974.[29] In 1974, PIA launched Pakistan International Cargo, offering air freight and cargo services.

The latter half of the decade witnessed a further expansion of PIA's fleet with the introduction of Boeing 747s, with its first two aircraft leased from TAP Air Portugal in 1976.[36] By 1976–7, PIA carried 2.2 million passengers, compared to 698,000 in 1972–3.[37] Revenues in 1976 rose sharply compared to 1975, with the airline revenues of $134 million in the July–December period of 1976.[38] On 20 January 1978, a PIA Fokker 27 was hijacked en route to Karachi from Sukkur.[39]

For the first time since its inauguration, PIA started providing technical and administrative assistance or leased aircraft to foreign airlines including Air China,[40] Air Malta,[40] Choson Minhang (today known as Air Koryo),[41] Philippine Airlines,[42] Somali Airlines,[43] and Yemenia.[43] A subsidiary of PIA also started providing hotel management services in the United Arab Emirates towards the end of the decade. Political upheaval in Pakistan in the late 1970s began to impact PIA's operations negatively.[44]



The 1980s saw a continuation of PIA growth. The 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 the airline's first Airbus A300B4-200 aircraft. In 1981, PIA had an employee workforce of almost 24,000, which despite being reduced to 20,000 by 1983 still resulted in PIA having the world's highest ratio of employees to aircraft.[44] PIA's operations became increasingly de-centralised during the early 1980s, with responsibilities being split between new departments.[44] Despite de-centralisation, PIA reported its highest ever profits in 1981-82,[45] followed by record profits again in 1983-84.[46]

In 1984, the airline introduced the 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 planetaria in Lahore and Peshawar. These planetariums featured retired PIA aircraft on display for educational and observational purposes. Two more retired Boeing 720B aircraft were donated to the planetaria in Karachi and later on Lahore. PIA profits again rose in 1984–5.[47]

In June 1985, PIA became the first Asian airline to operate the Boeing 737-300 aircraft, after six of the aircraft were delivered.[48] Pakistan International Airlines also played a significant role in establishing UAE's Emirates airline in 1985 by providing technical and administrative assistance to the new carrier as well as leasing a new Boeing 737–300 and an Airbus A300B4-200.[7] In late 1987 and early 1988, services to Malé, Manchester, and Toronto were introduced.[49]



PIA began to sustain operating losses and liquidity problems throughout the 1990s due to frequent pilot strikes, issues with various vendors, over-staffing, and political interference in airline management.[50] In 1990, First Officer Maliha Sami became the first female pilot of PIA when she took off on the Karachi-Panjgur-Turbat-Gwadar route.[51] In June 1991, PIA took delivery of its first of six Airbus A310-300s. With the new aircraft, the airline introduced flights to Tashkent in 1992 and to Zürich in 1993.

In March 1993, AVM Farooq Umar became managing director of the airline. An Open Skies agreement between Karachi to Dubai was agreed upon in 1993, and 12 private airlines were allowed to operate domestically in Pakistan. Both steps came simultaneously and put enormous pressure on PIA's financial performance, though PIA launched six new routes to the Persian Gulf and CIS countries, along with a tourist 'Air Safari' scenic flight over the Karakoram Mountains in 1994. Non-stop flights from Lahore and Islamabad to JFK and Canada were launched, while PIA added Jakarta, Fujairah, Baku, and Al-Ain to its network in 1994. In addition, PIA became a client of three flight reservation systems, namely: SABRE, Galileo, and Amadeus.

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 before being discontinued a few years later. 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 the early 90s but due to some copyright issues, it was dropped. The Boeing 747-300s continued to bear the new livery, but with a plain green tail with PIA titles. The other aircraft in the fleet were repainted in early 1990s livery.


PIA Boeing 777-200ER taking off from Manchester Airport, circa 2006

The War in Afghanistan following the attacks on 11 September 2001 negatively impacted PIA's operations as Afghan airspace was closed.[50] However, following the restructuring of the airline under new management in April 2001, the airline again became profitable.[50] Cost per employee dropped 24% between 2000 and 2003, and lower engineering and maintenance costs led to enhanced airline revenue.[50]

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 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, and 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 ageing fleet of Fokker F27 Friendships. On 10 November 2005, PIA used the 777-200LR to fly the world's longest flight by a commercial airliner, flying over 21,000 kilometres on an eastbound flight from Hong Kong to London for 22 hours and 22 minutes[10] – a record which still stands as of late 2019.[11] On 6 December 2005, PIA acquired another new Boeing 777-200ER on a ten-year lease. The same year, Ayesha Rabia Naveed became the first woman to captain a scheduled commercial flight.[52] The following year, she captained a flight with the first all-woman crew.[52] On 23 December 2006, PIA took delivery of its first Boeing 777-300ER. The remaining aircraft were delivered in January 2007.

On 25 February 2006, Boeing delivered its first 777-200LR to PIA. 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.

Under the careful supervision and guidance of Mr. Syed Shah, who was serving as the Station Manager at the time, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) initiated the induction of long-range 777 aircraft into its fleet. This pivotal move allowed PIA to offer non-stop flights from Toronto to Karachi, Islamabad, and Lahore, beginning on 3 March 2006.

The introduction of the long-range 777 aircraft into PIA's fleet marked a significant milestone in the airline's history.

As a result of this strategic decision, PIA was able to offer a more efficient and seamless travel experience for its passengers, enabling them to travel non-stop to their desired destinations in Pakistan. This move also positioned PIA as a prominent player in the aviation industry, further cementing its reputation as a reliable and customer-centric airline. PIA had also planned non-stop flights to New York City, Chicago, Washington, and Houston but was not permitted by US authorities (unless the airline implemented a European stopover on the flight to American cities) due to security concerns after 9/11.

A PIA flight from Multan crashed in July 2006, killing 45. A government inquiry afterward blamed aging aircraft for the crash.[53] Houston services also ended in 2006. Following the crash, 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 ageing aircraft.[54][55] The fleet of Boeing 777s was exempted from the ban,[56] but 15 aircraft were over 20 years old by this point.[57] PIA claimed that the ban was discriminatory and unjustifiable.

The ban on some of the aircraft was lifted after four months on 5 July 2007, following an inspection by the European Union Air Safety Administration. Of the eleven aircraft allowed to resume operations to the EU, 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.[58]


PIA ATR 42-500 in a Balochistan province tail livery on 14 November 2011

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.

By 2011, PIA began to be unprofitable again, requiring government subsidies.[59]

In 2014, PIA leased four Boeing 737-800s. PIA also issued a request for tender for four Boeing 777-300ERs, however, the bids for the 777s were not accepted. The airline did lease Airbus A320 aircraft and inducted two A320-214s in its fleet in 2014. Another wet-leased A320-211s joined PIA on 11 August 2014. In October 2014, the airline again wet-leased three Boeing 737-800s, and it also accepted bids to dry lease five ATR 72–500s for eight years. In 2015, after serving PIA for 16 years, the last of PIA's Boeing 747-300s were phased out.

In early 2016, PIA was fundamentally grounded for an entire week as employees walked out en masse following the deaths of two employees in a demonstration against the airline's privatization.[60] In August 2016, PIA launched a new "Premier Service" for flights to London, using an Airbus A330-300 wet-leased from SriLankan Airlines.[61] The wet-lease period ended after six months, and as a result, the A330-300 was returned to SriLankan Airlines,[62] and the Premier Service discontinued. By the end of 2016, the airline was saddled with $3 billion in debt.[60]

In January 2017, PIA retired all of the Airbus A310-300s from its fleet. For replacement, PIA leased four Boeing 737-800s from Pegasus Airlines, which were returned later on completion of the lease period. After over 50 years of service, PIA service to New York ended in October 2017 as a result of TSA regulation preventing nonstop flights from Pakistan and the US,[63] leaving Toronto as PIA's only destination in North America – which continues to be served by nonstop flights from Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad.

In 2017, PIA decided to replace its reservation and ticketing system "Sabre" with a Turkish-origin system called "Hitit". Both PIA & Hitit signed an agreement and in September 2018, the airline successfully switched to the new system.[64][65] At the end of 2018, the airline was burdened with $3.3 billion in debt, up from $2.97 the year before, and thus requiring government bailouts for continued operation.[66] With the demise of Shaheen Air, PIA launched routes that had previously been served only by Shaheen.[63]

New profitable routes were launched in 2019,[67] while profitable routes such as Karachi-Toronto saw increased frequencies.[68] six unprofitable routes were discontinued in 2019.[69] In April 2019, PIA claimed that its revenues almost matched operating costs.[70] Later that year following a visit of TSA officials to the Islamabad International Airport in July 2019, PIA expressed hope that non-stop flights to the US would be permitted.[71] In August 2019, PIA laid off 1,000 "redundant employees."[72] In September, PIA announced that it would lease additional aircraft to increase the airline's fleet to 37 by 2020,[73] and 45 by 2023.[74] By the end of 2019, PIA reported a 41% increase in year-on-year revenue due to discontinuation of unprofitable routes, reintroduction of grounded aircraft, and a sharp increase in cargo-space utilization.[75]


A scale model on display at Karachi Airport

For the first time in its history, PIA operated a relief flight from Lahore to Melbourne, Australia, during the COVID-19 pandemic.[76]

On 22 May 2020, a PIA Airbus A320-214 AP-BLD, crashed near Karachi airport with 99 people on board. The flight was en route to Karachi from Lahore. Flight PK8303, carrying 91 passengers and eight crew members on board, crashed while on the descent towards the runway of Jinnah International Airport, killing 97 while two passengers survived. The cause of the crash was due to the aircraft being badly damaged in the first belly landing, with both engines flaming out during the go-around. The final report listed following as the primary reasons: human error, non-adherence to SOPs and disregard of ATC instructions during the event flight, lack of communication between the ATC and the flight crew.[77][78]

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) communicated concerns over the "serious lapse in licensing and safety oversight by the aviation regulator".[79]

In November 2020, PIA shut down its courier arm, SpeedEx, whose infrastructure was scattered over 74 domestic destinations, and laid off its 320 employees.[80]

In December 2020, PIA announced a plan to lay off half of its employees and transferred its engineering arm, Precision Engineering Complex (PEC), to the Pakistan Air Force.[80]

Pilot licensing scandal


On 24 June, 2020, Pakistani aviation minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan told Parliament that 262 of Pakistan's 860 active, licensed pilots had been found to have suspicious or fake licences. They were suspected of having paid someone else to take their certification examination on their behalf. PIA subsequently grounded 150 of its 434 pilots on suspicion of having a bogus license.[81][82][83] Later, the employment of seven pilots was terminated.[84]

On 30 June, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) revoked PIA's 'third part authorisation', subsequently banning PIA from flying in European airspace for six months from the following day,[85] following multiple safety failings.

On 9 July 2020, the United States banned the airline because of concerns about its certification of pilots.[86] By that date, PIA was also banned from flights in the United Kingdom, and Pakistani pilots in Vietnam and Malaysia were grounded on a temporary basis.[87] Reports on 16 July 2020 stated that the US Federal Aviation Administration downgraded Pakistan's air safety rating to category 2. This decision "means no Pakistani airlines can establish new services to the United States or codeshare with US airlines".[citation needed]

On 18 July, PIA dismissed seven pilots and one member of cabin crew whose licences had been revoked by the country's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).[88]

On 28 December, the EU ban was extended for three more months, stating that an official inspection of the CAA would have to be performed first.[citation needed] On 16 March 2021, the ban was extended to July.[89] Less than a month later, the ban was extended indefinitely, following another safety concern regarding the CAA that was made public by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). ICAO has yet to perform safety audit of the CAA.[17] The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) stated that the ICAO's safety audit would be a sign of improvement.[90]

On 6 November 2021, the first sign of improvement appeared when the CAA received positive feedback from Europe's Safety Audit for Foreign-Origin Aircraft (SAFA).[91][92]

Further improvement was made on 8 March 2023, when PIA completed an online safety audit conducted by EASA.[93]

Canceled flights due to unpaid fuel bills


In late 2023, PIA was forced to cancel numerous flights due to unpaid fuel bills.[94][95] Resulting cancelations resulted in multiple instances of customer anger creating viral social media content.[96] State-owned Pakistan State Oil suspended fueling of PIA aircraft after PIA's request for additional government funding was denied.[97]

In late December 2023 Interim government planned to privatize the airline. During a question hour in Senate adviser to Prime Minister on Aviation Air Marshal (Retd) Farhat Hussain Khan that said privatization of Pakistan International Airlines is being carried out under the government's policy to privatize loss making entities.

The Adviser said that initially PIA will be privatized as a flight entity and the decision on its other properties will be decided later.[98]

Corporate management



Pakistan International Airlines' regional office, located in Lahore

Pakistan International Airlines Corporation Limited (PIACL) is majority-owned by the Government of Pakistan (86%) while the remainder (14%) is owned by private shareholders. The airline is under the administration of Aviation Division and is managed by a president and chief executive officer 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 charter and chairman. The president and chief executive officer leads the executive management of staff who run the airline. The airline's main headquarters are located at Karachi,[99] while smaller subhead offices are located in several cities within Pakistan.

Seven of PIA's ten departments are in Islamabad, viz, Marketing Department, Procedure Bureau, Central Reservation Control, Revenue Management, HR and Security and Vigilance Department.[100] The remaining three departments are in Karachi, namely finance, engineering and situation room.[100]



In the late 1990s, the Government of Pakistan announced privatisation plans due to the persistent losses suffered by the airline, but they were never implemented; however, several steps towards the outsourcing of non-core businesses were initiated. Catering units (starting with Karachi Flight Kitchen), ground handling (starting with ramp services) and engineering, are to gradually leave the airline and operate as independent companies. In 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.[101] Despite the government's multiple privatisation plans, on 18 February 2009, the carrier was dropped from the privatisation list.[102]

In 2013, the Government of Pakistan once again aimed to privatise the airline due to increased losses by selling twenty-six percent of shares and management control to the investor. This plan was dropped due to protests by airline unions and associations after security forces killed two employees approaching the Jinnah International Airport terminal building.

In 2018, the newly elected government aimed to not privatise the entity and instead achieve profitability through the change in its top management.[103]

On 6 February 2024, the Caretaker Cabinet of the interim Government decided to split different functions of Pakistan International Airlines into two entities to make it attractive for investors. These entities were named TopCo and HoldCo. TopCo was allocated basic functions, including engineering, ground handling, and flight kitchen and training. HoldCo was given Precision Engineering Complex, PIA Investment Limited and subordinate departments and properties.[104]

Financial and Operational performance


In 2011, PIA began to be unprofitable, requiring government subsidies.[59] By the end of 2016, the airline was saddled with $3 billion in debt.[60] At the end of 2018, the airline was burdened with $3.3 billion in debt, up from $2.97 the year before, and thus requiring government bailouts for continued operation.[66] In April 2019, PIA claimed that its revenues almost matched operating costs.[70] An audit in September 2019 revealed that PIA had operated 46 empty flights between 2016 and 2017, without any passengers causing a loss of $1.1 million to the airline. Additionally, 36 Hajj flights were flown without any passengers.[105] By the end of 2019, PIA reported a 41% increase in year-on-year revenue due to discontinuation of unprofitable routes, reintroduction of idle aircraft, and a sharp increase in the airline cargo space utilization.[75]

The airline faces many challenges to its profitability. PIA, along with Etihad, were once considered one of the cheapest airlines in the GCC.[106] Pakistan faces what has been termed "capacity dumping" by Middle East airlines, who operate numerous daily flights to every major city in Pakistan.[63] Pakistan's Open Skies Agreement with the UAE, for example, allows Emirati airlines an unlimited number of seats into Karachi, with Emirates airline alone operating up to seven daily flights to Karachi from Dubai on high-capacity Boeing 777s.[63] PIA also discontinued previously profitable routes to the US, as the TSA forbade nonstop flights from Pakistan to the US, and instead required costly diversions to European airports for immigration clearance – resulting in flight times that were significantly longer than flights on Middle Eastern airlines.[63] New routes such as to Najaf and Bangkok also did not improve the airline's finances given the seasonality of those destinations.[63] Further, staffing levels and overall management issues, including an employee count of 18,014 in 2010 for a fleet of 40 aircraft,[107][108] present further challenges, although in August 2019, PIA laid off 1,000 "redundant employees."[72]

Financial and Operational performance
Year Revenue (PKR million) Net income (PKR million) Passenger Load Factor (%) Revenue passengers (million) Employees (average)
2005[109] Increase64,074 Decrease(4,411) Increase69 Increase5.499 Decrease19,263
2006[110] Increase70,587 Decrease(12,763) Decrease68 Increase5.732 Decrease18,282
2007[111] Decrease70,480 Decrease(13,398) Decrease67 Decrease5.415 Decrease18,149
2008[112] Increase89,201 Decrease(35,880) Increase71 Increase5.617 Decrease18,036
2009[113] Increase94,563 Increase(5,822) Increase70 Decrease5.535 Decrease17,944
2010[114] Increase107,531 Decrease(20,785) Increase74 Increase5.538 Increase18,019
2011[115] Increase116,550 Decrease(26,767) Decrease72 Increase5.953 Decrease18,014
2012[116] Decrease112,130 Decrease(33,181) Decrease70 Decrease5.236 Decrease17,439
2013[117] Decrease95,771 Decrease(44,524) 70 Decrease4.449 Decrease16,604
2014[118] Increase99,519 Increase(31,744) Increase72 Decrease4.202 Decrease16,243
2015[119] Decrease91,268 Decrease(32,529) Decrease70 Increase4.394 Increase16,271
2016[119] Decrease88,997 Decrease(44,900) N/A Increase5.486 Decrease13,947
2017[119] Increase90,843 Decrease(47,760) Increase73 Decrease5.342 Decrease13,592
2018[120] Increase103,490 Decrease(67,327) Increase77 Decrease5.203 Decrease12,437
2019[121] Increase147,500 Increase(55,451) Increase81 Increase5.290 Decrease11,740
2020[122] Decrease94,989 Increase(34,642) Decrease74 Decrease2.541 Decrease10,779
2021[123] Decrease94,989 Decrease(50,101) Decrease66 Increase2.657 Decrease8,558
2022[124] Increase172,038 Decrease(88,008) Increase80 Increase4.281 Decrease8,031



As of November 2019, PIA serves 19 domestic and 28 international destinations in 20 countries across Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America.

On 12 March 2023, PIA decided to add 11 new destinations which included Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide, Auckland, Singapore, Bangkok, Phuket, Jakarta, Manila and Ho Chi Minh City.[125]

PIA with its Interline agreements and codeshare partner airlines, offers a wider choice of travel in 102 international destinations in 40 countries across the world with different flight connections.

Codeshare agreements


PIA has Codeshare agreements with the following airlines:[126][127]

Interline agreements


PIA have Interline agreements with the following airlines:[126]

Cargo SPA agreements


PIA have Cargo Special Pro-rate Agreements with the following airlines: [128]



Current fleet

PIA Airbus A320-200
PIA Boeing 777-200ER

As of June 2024, Pakistan International Airlines operates the following aircraft:

Pakistan International Airlines fleet
Aircraft In service Orders Capacity Notes
Airbus A320-200 17 180
ATR 42 3 48 To be retired by late 2025.
Boeing 777-200ER 6 330
Boeing 777-200LR 2 310
Boeing 777-300ER 4 393
Total 32 0

Former fleet

PIA Douglas DC-8-21, leased in 1977–1978
PIA Airbus A310-300 landed at Germany, Frankfurt Airport, 25 April 2004
PIA Airbus A321 taking off from Islamabad Airport (2006)
PIA Boeing 747–300 taking off from the Multan International Airport for a Hajj flight, 28 October 2010
Aircraft Total Introduced Retired Notes
Airbus A300B4-200 10 1980 2005
1 1986 1992 Crashed as flight PK268
Airbus A310-300 12 1991 2016
Airbus A320-200 1 2014 2020 Crashed as flight PK8303
Airbus A321-200 2 2006 2007
Airbus A330-300 1 2016 2017[61]
ATR 42-500 1 2007 2016 Crashed as flight PK661
ATR 72-500 3 2015 2020[129] Two aircraft in storage.[130] One aircraft transferred to Pakistan Naval Air Arm.[131]
Boeing 707-320C 12 1960 1999
1 1979 Crashed as flight PK740
Boeing 720B 8 1962 1986
1 1965 Crashed as flight PK705
Boeing 737–300 8 1985 2014
Boeing 737–400 2 2004 2005
Boeing 737–800 4 2014 2015
Boeing 747-200B 6 1976 2005
Boeing 747-200B Combi 2 1979 2011
Boeing 747-300 6 1999 2015 Bought from Cathay Pacific
Convair CV-240 4 1947 1959
de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter 8 1970 2001
Douglas DC-3 15 1947 1967
Douglas DC-8-21F 1 1977 1978
Douglas DC-61CF 1 1977 1978
Fokker F27-200 Friendship 22 1961 2006
1 1989 Missing as flight PK404
1 2006 Crashed as flight PK688
Fokker F27-400 Friendship 1 1961 2003
Fokker F27-600 Friendship 5 1966 1986
Hiller UH-12E4 1 1963 1971
Hawker Siddeley Trident 1E 4 1966 1970
Lockheed L-100-382B-4C Hercules 2 1966 1966
Lockheed L-1049C Super Constellation 3 1954 1969
Lockheed L-1049H Super Constellation 2 1958 1969
McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 5 1974 1986
Mil Mi-8 MTV-1 1 1995 1997
Sikorsky S-61N 3 1963 1967
1 1966 Crashed as flight PK17
Tupolev Tu-154 4 1996 1997
Vickers Viscount 815 5 1956 1966


PIA's 1980s legacy tail, which became an identity for the airline

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.

A PIA Boeing 747–300 painted in a Frontier livery

In early 2006, the airline launched four new tail designs for its fleet. The tails represented the four provinces of Pakistan: Sindh, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 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 colours 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 mid 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 colour. 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 colour. At the front of the fuselage, 'PIA' was written in a billboard style in dark green and underneath 'Pakistan' was written in golden colour. Just behind the cockpit, there is a stylised 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. In 2015, after the completion of sixty years service, the 1960s livery was applied to three of the Airbus A320s and on one Boeing 777-200ER.

In 2018, Pakistan's national animal Markhor was chosen to be introduced as the brand identity on aircraft tail. However, later the Supreme Court of Pakistan took suo motu action and barred PIA from using the Markhor as brand identity; only one Airbus A320 was painted in the livery.

In April 2018, PIA formally launched a new brand identity and livery and added a portrait of the Markhor in a ceremony held at PIA Offices in Islamabad, presented by the then head of brand of PIA, having Pakistan's national animal represented on its aircraft, including a large one on the tail and two on the engines, describing the resilient nature of PIA Brand surviving under the onslaught of all the negativity associated with the brand.

Logo of PIA with Kashmiri Markhor depicted, used in 2018

The symbol of animal was chosen for its universal recognition as the Urdu calligraphy logo of PIA could not be comprehended by non-Pakistani customers. In essence the idea was to make PIA a truly international brand based on the values of resilience, grace and fortitude, something which PIA had lost with increased focus on ethnic traffic. The tail had a forward leaping Markhor having long screw horns, which are the features of 'Kashmiri Markhor' endemic to Pakistan only. 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 colour 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. For the first time, legacy PIA colours (Pakistan green and mustard gold) were dropped and a blue texture was added in the "PIA" acronym expanding the colour palette for the brand. Urdu PIA logo colour was also changed from the yellow-green gradient texture. The airline's slogan was also changed to "We Fly at the Right Attitude" from "Great People to Fly With". The first aircraft with the redesigned livery was converted on 12 May 2018 and rolled out of Isphani Hangar by the method of decals to make a debut at the New Islamabad International Airport.[132][133] The re-branding was halted on Suo Moto Notice taken by Supreme Court of Pakistan on fears of spending millions on the rebranding and not paying the salary of the staff on time. The Supreme Court of Pakistan suo motu notice barred PIA from using the Markhor logo as its brand identity. The Supreme Court later gave orders to retain the flag on the tail and disposed of the case. However, with a management change, the re-branding was abandoned altogether.[134][135] Currently, the airline is operating a hybrid livery which features a euro-white fuselage and gold Urdu logo in-front of the front exits and engine cowling while the flag tail, English PIA (and Pakistan International in gold) titles in dark green and Pakistan titles in dark green on the belly have been retained from the 2010 livery. The PIA corporate website was also added ahead of the aft exits. Currently, five Boeing 777s and three A320s are sporting this livery.





PIA Catering is the main supplier of meals for the airline at Islamabad and Karachi. It can produce 15,000 passenger meals each day. In 2006, the management of the flight kitchens was given to Singapore Air Terminal Services (SATS). This agreement ended in 2011 and PIA is managing the Flight Kitchens in Karachi and Islamabad itself. As of April 2019, an MOU was signed between PIA and McDonald's for the airlines catering. PIA Catering provides special meals to allow for passengers' dietary and religious needs. No alcoholic beverages or pork are served on board due to Islamic dietary laws.[136]

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.[61] There were six weekly flights to London, three each from Islamabad and Lahore.[137]However, it was soon diminished due to a loss of 2.1 billion rupees.[138]

In-flight entertainment


Pakistan International Airlines was the first international airline to introduce entertainment system showing a regularly scheduled film on board in the year 1962.[139][140]

In-flight Internet


In January 2017, the airline began trials on an on-board internet 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.[141] PIA offers personal screens on Boeing 777 flights with in-flight movies, music and TV shows. The Boeing 777 IFE also features an inflight map and air show. Selected A320s feature drop-down screens with in-flight map and air-show.

Precision Engineering Complex


The Precision Engineering Complex (PEC) includes the following facilities:

  • Binocular Assembly
  • Calibration Facility
  • Glass Fibre Composite Manufacturing
  • Investment Casting Facility
  • Machine Shop
  • Material Testing Laboratory
  • Non Destructive Testing Facility
  • Optics
  • Printed Circuit Boards (PCB)
  • Plating Facilities
  • Packaging Plant
  • Shot Peening[142]

Ground handling


PIA provides ground handling services to the following airlines:

Cargo operations

PIA Boeing 707C operating Cargo aircraft taxiing at Charles de Gaulle Airport, France on 14 August 1994

PIA operates a cargo delivery system within Pakistan. PIA Cargo transports goods across Pakistan as well as to international destinations. These goods 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 several 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 again operated 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 initially in Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Islamabad. This expanded to twelve cities within a year. Today, the airline serves over 70 locations within Pakistan, with shipments collected and delivered from customers homes.

In 2019, the new PIA management experienced a sharp increase in the airline's cargo space utilization, from 20 percent to almost 80 percent.[75]

PIA currently offers cargo service for these international destinations: Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, Barcelona, Birmingham, ChinaBeijing, Copenhagen, Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, Kabul, Kuala Lumpur, London, Manchester, Medina, Milan, Muscat, Najaf, Oslo, Paris, Riyadh, Sharjah, TokyoNarita and TorontoCanada.[144]

Corporate sponsorship


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.[145] PIA has had its own Sports Division since 1958, promoting sports within Pakistan such as cricket, hockey, football, squash, polo, tennis, bridge, chess, table tennis, cycling, and bodybuilding.

PIA has its own Boy Scouts Association (PIA-BSA), working in partnership with Pakistan Boy Scouts Association. After a devastating earthquake in 2005, 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.[146] 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.[147] 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 the Pakistan Remittance Initiative (PRI) formed a strategic alliance to promote world money transfers.[148]

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 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.[149] In 2009, PIA teamed up with the fast-food franchise McDonald's, to offer passengers discounts on meals and upgrades.[150] PIA also owns three hotels, the Roosevelt Hotel, the Scribe Hotel and Skyrooms (Private) Limited.[151] The airline also has an agreement with Pearl Continental Hotels for its UAE based passengers.[152]

Charter and special services


State officials transportation

Callsign "PAKISTAN 001" carrying the President on PIA's Boeing 707. Photographed at Munich Airport in West Germany, circa 1961.

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[153][better source needed] 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[154][better source needed] 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.[155]

Charter 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 Saudi Arabia. PIA transported over 100,000 intending pilgrims each year 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.

Special services

A PIA plane carrying desperately needed medical supplies landed in Afghanistan on Monday,[when?] the World Health Organisation said, the first such flight since the Taliban took control of the country two weeks prior. He[who?] further thanked Pakistan for providing the Boeing 777 plane for the delivery. It was the first of three flights planned with PIA, and the WHO said it was working to ensure "this week's shipment is the first of many". PIA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Arshad Malik said it was the national flag carrier's "moral responsibility" to help people in Afghanistan. "PIA will continue humanitarian missions on the instructions of the Pakistan government and the aviation minister," he said in a statement.[156]

Accidents and incidents


The airline has lost more than 30 aircraft in crashes and other events, including 20 fatal crashes. There have also been at least eight hijacking incidents involving the airline's aircraft between 1971 and 2017.

  • In October 1952, an Orient Airways flight carrying cargo from Karachi to Dacca crashed. One of three was killed in this crash.
  • On Monday 3 August 1953, the Douglas DC-3 registered AP-AAD was operating on a hajj flight, carrying pilgrims from Karachi to Jeddah via Sharjah and Bahrain. The leg to Bahrain was to be flown by the first officer from the left-hand seat. Shortly after takeoff the aircraft entered a steep descending turn. The captain took over control but could not recover the aircraft. The Douglas DC-3 struck the ground. One of 25 was killed in this crash. "The accident resulted from the loss of control of the aircraft by the first officer shortly after taking off on a dark night when instrument flying was necessary. This loss of control was due to the inability of the first officer to fly on instruments. The responsibility for the accident is attributed to the captain for failing to supervise the piloting of the aircraft by the first officer."
  • Pakistan International Airlines experienced its first recorded hull loss in 1956: a Douglas DC-3 flew into a mountain on 25 February while on a cargo flight from Gilgit to Islamabad in poor weather, killing the three crew members on board.[157]
  • 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 20 passengers and four crew members on board.[158]
  • 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 21 of the 38 passengers on board were killed; two people on the ground were also killed.[159]
  • 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.[160]
  • 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.[161]
  • 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 18 of the 22 passengers on board.[162]
The memorial tablet at the crash site in Cairo for those who died on PIA Flight 705 on 20 May 1965
  • 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.[163]
  • 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 Rawalpindi in stormy weather. All 26 passengers and four crew members on board were killed.[164]
  • On 3 December 1971, a French national's attempt to hijack a Boeing 720B flight from Paris to Karachi was thwarted by French security forces.[34]
  • On 8 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 22 passengers and four crew members on board.[165]
  • On 20 January 1978, a PIA Fokker F27 (registered AP-ALW) 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.[166][167]
  • 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.[168][better source needed]
  • On 4 February 1986, a Boeing 747 registered as AP-AYW made a belly landing at Islamabad Airport around 9:00 am. The aircraft was operating Flight 300 from Karachi with 247 passengers and 17 crew members on board. Everyone survived this accident caused by pilot error.[169][170]
  • 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.[171]
  • On 25 August 1989, a Fokker F27 operating as Flight 404 disappeared shortly after taking off from Gilgit Airport. All 54 passengers and crew on board were presumed killed.[172]
Pakistan International Airlines Flight 268 crash site in Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport on 28 September 1992
  • On 28 September 1992 Flight 268, an Airbus A300 B4-200 registration AP-BCP, crashed on approach to Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport. All 167 on board were killed.
  • On 27 December 1997, a Pakistan Airlines Boeing 747 plane from Karachi to London, crashed when landing at Dubai international airport. It overshot the runway and went through the perimeter wall before coming to rest. No one was killed.[173]
  • On 25 May 1998 a Fokker F27 Friendship operating as Flight 544 was hijacked. All passengers and crew escaped unhurt.
  • On 17 October 2001, Pakistan International Airlines Flight 231, an Airbus A300, from Islamabad via Peshawar veered off the side of the runway after the right hand main landing gear collapsed as it touched down. The aircraft skidded and eventually came to rest in sand 50 meters from the runway. The aircraft sustained damage to its right wing structure and right engine, which partly broke off the wing. All 205 crew and passengers (which included high profile American political commentator and talk show host Tucker Carlson and his father Dick Carlson) evacuated safely.[174][175]
  • On 1 March 2004, Pakistan International Airlines Flight 2002, Airbus A300B4-203 registration AP-BBA, burst two tires whilst taking off from King Abdulaziz International Airport. Fragments of the tire were ingested by the engines, which caused the engines to catch fire and an aborted takeoff was performed. Due to the fire, substantial damage to the engine and the left wing caused the aircraft to be written off. All 261 passengers and 12 crew survived.[176][177]
  • In March 2005 Pakistan International Airlines experienced several minor accidents. This includes the wrong grease being used for the undercarriages in Pakistan airports leading to small fuselage fires.[178] Poor maintenance in Pakistan has previously led to insufficient fuel in tanks and an engine falling onto the runway at Manchester Airport [179]
  • On 10 July 2006 Flight 688, a Fokker F27 operating from Multan to Lahore and then to Islamabad, crashed in a field[180] after bursting into flames a few minutes after takeoff[181] from Multan International Airport. All 41 passengers and four crew members on board were killed.
  • On 25 September 2010, a PIA Boeing 777-200LR registered AP-BGY, flying from Toronto to Karachi, made an emergency landing at Stockholm Arlanda Airport after a phone call was made claiming a passenger on board was armed with explosives. After the plane landed in Stockholm, it was parked at an emergency stand and the suspected passenger was removed from the plane by Swedish authorities. The rest of the passengers were also removed and the empty aircraft was searched. The plane and passengers were allowed to depart Sweden while the suspect was detained in the country for further investigation, but was later released after no evidence was found of the allegation made against him.[182][183][184]
  • 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 four crew members. The aircraft was damaged beyond repair and withdrawn from service.[185]
  • 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 seven crew members on board. 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 it was 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.[186]
  • 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.[187]
  • On 22 May 2020, Flight 8303, operated by an Airbus A320, AP-BLD crashed while on final approach to Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, arriving from Lahore. According to CAA sources, PIA Airbus A320 from Lahore was about to land in Karachi when it crashed at the Jinnah Garden area near Model Colony in Malir. CAA sources said that its communication with the plane had been cut off one minute prior to the landing. The pilots attempted an unstabilized landing which resulted in a belly landing as the landing gear was not lowered due to high workload in the cockpit. This badly damaged both the engines which suffered from oil leaks due to the heavy scraping on the runway. The pilots then tried to perform a go-around attempting to make a second approach, they requested to turn left for a direct route to the runway as they were losing altitude. The pilots then declared mayday reporting they had lost both engines (both engines had flamed out due to damage). Soon after, the aircraft lost altitude and crashed into flames in the Model Colony residential area at about 14:40 local time. A ground observer reported that the aircraft suddenly became silent in its final seconds of flight. [188][189][78] 99 people were on board; two passengers survived while 97 on board, including eight crew members, were killed. Additional casualties on the ground were 1 fatality and 7 injured. [190]

See also



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    "That title belongs to Pakistan International Airline, which flew a Boeing 777-200LR test flight from Hong Kong to London eastward, taking a whopping 22 hours, 22 minutes to complete the 21,600 kilometre journey.
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