Pakistan International Airlines commonly known as PIA, is the flag carrier airline of Pakistan. The airline has its head office on the grounds of Jinnah International Airport in Karachi. Its main bases are at Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad/Rawalpindi. PIA has been ranked as a 3-star airline by Skytrax, the world"s official airline and airport reviewer.
The airline"s secondary bases include Peshawar, Faisalabad, Quetta, Sialkot and Multan, from which it connects the metropolitan cities with the main bases, the Middle East and the Far East. The airline is owned by the Government of Pakistan (87%) and other shareholders (13%).
Pakistan International Airlines, or "PIA" for short, can trace its beginnings to the days when Pakistan was not a nation, rather a region of British India. In 1946 Muhammed Ali Jinnah realised the need for an airline network for the forming country and called upon the help of an industrialist Mirza Ahmad Ispahani to develop a flag carrier for the nation. Meanwhile, an airline called "Orient Airways", registered in Calcutta, was formed on 23 October 1946.
In February 1947, the airline brought three DC-3 airplanes from a company in Texas, and in May of that year the airline was granted a licence to fly. Services were started in June from Kolkata to Sittwe and Yangon. This was the first post-war airline flight by a South Asian registered airline company. Two months after this service began, Pakistan was formed. The Government of Pakistan, realizing the operation was failing economically, proposed that Orient Airways merge into a new national airline. On 11 March 1955, Orient Airways merged with the government"s proposed airline, becoming "Pakistan International Airlines Corporation".
The 1970s saw the resumption of transatlantic flights and new destinations. The 1980s began with the opening of a cargo centre in Karachi and the delivery of a new aircraft, Airbus A300B4-203. Starting from 2002, the airline began to expand its route and fleet.
PIA serves 24 domestic destinations and 38 international destinations in 27 countries across Asia, Europe and North America. Dubai is a major focus city for the airline with flights to Bahawalpur, Dera Ghazi Khan, Faisalabad, Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Peshawar, Quetta and Sialkot.
Its fleet has 12 Airbus A310-300, 7 ATR 42-500, 6 Boeing 737-300, 5 Boeing 747-300, 4 Boeing 777-200ER, 2 Boeing 777-200LR and 3 Boeing 777-300ER.
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