Pakistan International Airlines, 1960s

Pakistan International Airlines, 1960s
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Pakistan International Airlines ads, mostly from the 1960s, provide a glimpse into the golden age of aviation

June 08 , 2018
01 Min Read

There was a time when Pakistan ran one of the best airlines in the world. (It was probably the same time India flew a stellar airline as well.) The airline initially began life as Orient Airways in Calcutta in 1946 but shifted operations to a newly independent Pakistan in 1947. In 1955, the airline was nationalised and renamed Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). It was the same year the airline started international flights, with a service to London, via Cairo and Rome. It was the first Asian airline to fly the Lockheed Super Constellation and the second Asian airline to acquire a jet aircraft with the induction of a Boeing 707. It was also the first non-communist airline to fly to China.

A PIA advertisement

The airline’s slogan, ‘Great people to fly with’, was coined by Pakistani writer and adman Omar Kureishi. It received an extraordinary endorsement from Jacqueline Kennedy, who, after a flight in 1962, hugged the pilot and repeated the tagline.

Top flight service by PIA

These gorgeous ads, mostly from the 1960s, provide a glimpse into the golden age of aviation, when there was something thrilling about taking a flight. But it’s safe to say that the golden age of PIA advertising is well and truly behind us. Recently, they ran a Facebook post which said “Oh did you say you won’t fly PIA?”, and went on to list all the good reasons one should fly with the airline. (“We are the only Pakistani airline to fly big planes”, “We are the only Pakistani airline with a real business class”, etc, etc). Needless to say, they were royally trolled. Currently the loss-making airline is slated for privatisation. Sounds familiar?

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