For faster navigation, this Iframe is preloading the Wikiwand page for Orient Airways.

Orient Airways

This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Orient Airways" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (March 2009) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

Orient Airways
IATA ICAO Callsign
Commenced operations4 June 1947
Ceased operations11 March 1955
Operating basesKarachi


Azad Jammu Kashmir
Fleet size10 Douglas DC-3
3 Convair 240
HeadquartersKarachi, Pakistan
Key peopleMirza Ahmad Ispahani (Chairman)

Mirza Abol Hassan Ispahani (Managing Director)

Captain T. Neville Stack (General Manager)[1]

Orient Airways Ltd. (Urdu: اورینٹ ایَیر ویز لمیٹڈ) was an airline established in 1946 with its base in Calcutta, Bengal, British India. The airline shifted operations to the newly independent state of Pakistan in 1947,[2] and was rechristened as Pakistan International Airlines in 1955.[3][4] It was the first and only Muslim owned airline in British Raj and flew from 1947 to 1955.[5][6]


The airline was registered in Calcutta, British Raj on 23 October 1946.[7] The initial investment was provided by the Ispahani, Adamjee, and the Arag group.[7] Mirza Ahmad Ispahani, being its first chairman, and Air Vice-Marshal O.K. Carter, the general manager, obtained an operating license in May 1947. Four Douglas DC-3s were obtained from Temple, Texas in February 1947 and operations first started on 4 June 1947.[7] The designated route was Kolkata-Sittwe (then known as Akyab)-Yangon (Myanmar), which also happened to be the first post-war international operation to be flown by an airline registered in the British Raj.

Orient Airways, along with the help of some chartered BOAC aircraft, started relief operations and transportation of the population between Delhi and Karachi, the capitals of India and Pakistan, respectively. Later, Orient Airways transferred its base to Pakistan and established the vital link between Karachi and Dhaka (Dacca). With a skeleton fleet of just two DC-3s, three crew, and twelve mechanics, Orient Airways re-launched its scheduled operations. The initial routes were Karachi-Lahore-Peshawar, Karachi-Quetta-Lahore, and Karachi-Delhi-Kolkata-Dhaka. By the end of 1949, Orient Airways had acquired 10 DC-3s and 3 Convair 240s which it operated on these particular routes. In 1950, it had become increasingly apparent that additional capacity would have to be inducted to cater to the growing needs of the population.

On 11 March 1955, the government of Pakistan merged Orient Airways with other airlines to form Pakistan International Airlines.


Orient Airways aircraft had a green strip with the word "Orient Airways" or "Orient Skyliner". The tail was marked with the flag of Pakistan after the independence on 14 August 1947.[8]


Orient Airways Convair CV-240 circa 1947

Orient Airways aircraft fleet consisted of the following aircraft. The aircraft had only Economy Class.[1]

Aircraft In service Orders Passengers Notes
Convair CV-240-5 3 40 All aircraft are added into Pakistan International Airlines.
Douglas DC-3 10 25
Total 13

Former fleet

Orient airways crashed Douglas DC-3 is now a coffee shop at the Shangrila Resort in Skardu. circa 1953
Aircraft Total Introduced Retired Status
Douglas DC-3 1 1947 1953 1-crashed



The following return routes were advised by the Board (1948):[1]

  • 1. Karachi-Quetta-Lahore
  • 2. Karachi-Lahore-Rawalpindi-Peshawar
  • 3. Karachi-Delhi-Allahabad-Calcutta-Dacca-Chittagong
  • 4. Karachi-Ahmedabad-Bombay
  • 5. Karachi-Quetta-Zahidan-Meshad-Tehran[9]

Other routes operating

  • 1. Karachi-Dacca-Delhi-Karachi (daily service since March 1952)
  • 2. Karachi-Dacca via Lahore (not sure if it stopped in Lahore on both legs)
  • 3. Karachi-Multan-Lahore & Return (1952)
  • 5. Karachi-Delhi-Calcutta-?? (1949)


Orient Airways was the designated local carrier for airmail throughout the country. It also carried mail to India. Its services to Dacca were supplemented by BOAC's.

Accidents and incidents

Orient Airways experienced has lost only two aircraft in crashes in 1952 and 1953 respectively.[1]


  • In October 1952, Orient Airways carrying cargo flight from Karachi to Dacca was crashed. There were only one of 3 was killed in this crash.
  • On Monday 3 August 1953, the Douglas DC-3 registered AP-AAD operated 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. There were only 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."

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "History of Orient Airways". Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  2. ^ Hasan, Saad (23 May 2016). "PIA's Seventy Year Long Descent". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  3. ^ James J Lynch (11 November 1984). Airline Organization in the 1980s: An Industry Report on Strategies and Structures for Coping withChange. Palgrave Macmillan UK. pp. 98–. ISBN 978-1-349-07630-7.
  4. ^ Sánchez-Triana, Ernesto; Javaid Afzal; Dan Biller; Sohail Malik (18 July 2013). Greening Growth in Pakistan through Transport Sector Reforms: A Strategic Environmental, Poverty, and Social Assessment. World Bank Publications. pp. 205–. ISBN 978-0-8213-9930-9.
  5. ^ "Formation of Muslim-owned economic institutions: 1940-1947". Archived from the original on 7 February 2009.
  6. ^ "Pakistani International Airlines: About PIA - History". Retrieved 20 March 2014.
  7. ^ a b c Civil Appeal nos 172K to 175K, 177K to 182 K of 2009 Judgement of the Supreme Court of Pakistan p. 6. Retrieved 31 October 2015
  8. ^ "Image Detail for -". Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  9. ^ "History of Orient Airways". Retrieved 7 February 2019.
{{bottomLinkPreText}} {{bottomLinkText}}
Orient Airways
Listen to this article

This browser is not supported by Wikiwand :(
Wikiwand requires a browser with modern capabilities in order to provide you with the best reading experience.
Please download and use one of the following browsers:

This article was just edited, click to reload
This article has been deleted on Wikipedia (Why?)

Back to homepage

Please click Add in the dialog above
Please click Allow in the top-left corner,
then click Install Now in the dialog
Please click Open in the download dialog,
then click Install
Please click the "Downloads" icon in the Safari toolbar, open the first download in the list,
then click Install

Install Wikiwand

Install on Chrome Install on Firefox
Don't forget to rate us

Tell your friends about Wikiwand!

Gmail Facebook Twitter Link

Enjoying Wikiwand?

Tell your friends and spread the love:
Share on Gmail Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Buffer

Our magic isn't perfect

You can help our automatic cover photo selection by reporting an unsuitable photo.

This photo is visually disturbing This photo is not a good choice

Thank you for helping!

Your input will affect cover photo selection, along with input from other users.


Get ready for Wikiwand 2.0 🎉! the new version arrives on September 1st! Don't want to wait?