In June 1946, the founder of the upcoming nation of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, instructed leading industrialist M A Ispahani, to set up a national airline, on a priority basis.
On October 23, 1946, a new airline was born.
Initially registered as a pilot project in Calcutta, Orient Airways Ltd had at its helm Mr Ispahani as chairman and Air Vice Marshal O K Carter as general manager.
The new carrier’s base remained in Calcutta and an operating licence was obtained in May 1947.
Four Douglas DC-3s were purchased from Tempo of Texas in February 1947 and operations commenced on June 4, 1947.
The designated route for Orient Airways was Calcutta-Akyab-Rangoon, which also happened to be the first post-war international sector to be flown by an airline registered in India.
Within two months of Orient Airways’ operational beginnings, Pakistan was born.
The birth of a new nation generated one of the largest transfers of population in the history of mankind.
Orient Airways, along with the help of BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation) aircraft which had been chartered by the government of Pakistan, started relief operations and transportation of people between Delhi and Karachi, the two capitals.
Subsequently, Orient Airways transferred its base to Pakistan and established a vital link between Karachi and Dacca, the two capitals of the two wings of Pakistan.
With a skeleton fleet of just two DC-3s, three crew members and 12 mechanics, Orient Airways launched its scheduled operations in a fairy-tale manner. In 1950, it had become increasingly apparent that additional capacity would have to be inducted to cater to the growing needs of the sub-continent.
As Orient Airways was a privately-owned company with limited capital and resources, it could not be expected to grow and expand independently.
It was then that the government decided to form a state-owned airline and invite Orient Airways to merge with it.
The outcome of the merger was the birth of a new airline named Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) on January 10, 1955.
The same year also marked the inauguration of the PIA’s first scheduled international service to the British capital city of London, via Cairo and Rome.
Throughout the years, PIA’s focus was, and continues to be, that of service to the Pakistani community at large and with it the provision of transportation to expatriates amongst its foremost priorities.
PIA resumed its operation in Bahrain on May 7, 2021, providing Pakistani expats in the kingdom access to their preferred national carrier with direct flights to the country.
The airline currently operates two weekly flights from Bahrain to Pakistan with one weekly flight to Lahore on Fridays and the other to Islamabad on Sundays.
Country manager Awais Hanif has also delightfully announced that an additional weekly non-stop flight to Karachi will soon be added for the convenience of its patrons.
On the occasion of the 75th Independence Day of Pakistan, the PIA wishes all members of the community in Bahrain a Happy Independence Day and calls on them to keep supporting their national carrier.