PIA Pakistan International Airlines’ origins date back to 1946. The airline began operations as Orient Airways with Douglas DC-3 service. International operations, starting with a route to London, began in 1955. Today, the airline’s route network extends from Pakistan to Canada, China, Denmark, France, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Norway, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Thailand, U.A.E., and the United Kingdom. The airline’s headquarters are in Karachi with its main base of operations are at Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Islamabad, Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, and Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore.
PIA is the first airline to get certified (initial certification) on Safety Management System (SMS) by Civil Aviation Authority CAA – Pakistan. CAA Air Navigation Order (ANO 91.0032 issued in September 2008) binds all airlines operating in Pakistan to have SMS. Well before the issuance of this ANO, PIA initiated SMS awareness and implementation in July 2008. PIA awarded initial certification on SMS in 27th February 2009 by CAA.
Around this time, the airline saw a change in the top slot. Air Vice Marshal, Asghar Khan took over the reigns of PIA for a tenure of 3 years. A number of highpoints are attributed to this period. The most colourful, if not the most significant, occurrence for PIA was the introduction of a new air-hostesses’ uniform designed by none other than the renowned French designer, Pierre Cardin. Taking the aviation world by storm, this move, more than any other single factor, imprinted PIA’s name on the international market. The uniforms were an instant hit, both at home and abroad.Besides visible development and growth in traffic and revenues in the sixties, PIA added additional destinations, new equipment, and cutting-edge technology to support its ever expanding operations. A new Jet Hangar for Boeings with a supporting airframe overhaul shop was completed and commissioned in 1968.In 1970, PIA set up its own Flight Kitchen in Karachi, which caters, even today, to the national airline as well as other carriers. Over the years, with the airline’s expansion and increased capacity, the need for a second Flight Kitchen became imperative.