THERE was a time when people at PIA were ‘Great people to fly with’. From booking a seat, check-in, in-flight service to safety and punctuality, things were simply perfect. The great Nur Khan had done it.

The catchy ‘Great people to fly with’ slogan indeed played a role.

Initially, some people thought that was a bizarre way for a big air company to indulge in self-praise.

Later it dawned on them, including me, that the ‘Great people to fly with’ catchphrase inspired and motivated the PIA team to act and serve in a manner worthy of the honour given to them by their company.

Who coined this shibboleth? The credit goes to Omar Kureshi, the great cricket lover and commentator.

He mentions this fact in his biographical sketch in Dawn’s Sunday magazine. Nur Khan had engaged a big advertisement company for its publicity.

The company invited proposals for a proper motto for the airline. Omar, too, submitted his slogan. It was selected by the ad company and approved by Nur Khan.

It is good to know that the prime minister has constituted a committee to formulate proposals and ideas for reforming PIA. Let us hope that the country’s flag carrier regains its greatness.


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Comments (15)

June 28, 2013 9:14 am

How is PIA perceived today -- Pareshan International Airlines.

Siddique Malik
June 28, 2013 9:16 am

The best way to make a commercial organization excel in what it does is to free it of government's clutches. Siddique Malik, Louisville, Kentucky, USA.

Gerry D'Cunha
June 28, 2013 12:35 pm

PIA slogan should now be 'helpless people to fly with'

June 28, 2013 1:25 pm

I greatly wish and hope so.

Agha Ata
June 28, 2013 4:43 pm

"Great People To Fly With" is still true. Let me explain . . . people who fly in PIA are really great. They are great because they are brave to fly in these planes, and they are tolerant of what they get in form of service and comfort; they are really great, and PIA staff do fly with those great people. :)

rashid zaidi
June 28, 2013 8:49 pm

Mr. Nur Khan and Mr. Omar Qureshi were both exemplary people who did great things for Pakistan and it is they who brought respect to the country. We should teach our nation's youth of these and many others who made Pakistan respectable then.

Khalid Butt
June 28, 2013 11:14 pm

The only way to improve PIA is to privitise it. Government has no role in any business enterprise. Look at Pan Am even USA could not run an airline. GOP must immidiately sell PIA forget the past and omer qurshi and am Nur Khan let us not live in the past glory of mugals or ottaman empire, things chnge and wise people change with them.

jalaluddin S.Hussain
June 29, 2013 12:01 am

As a former employee of PIA and one who has seen the good days when PIA rightly deserved to be called, "Great People to Fly With" , I would advise that the PIA be run by a professional Managing Director, with rich aviation background, and a drastically-cut staff.

The present staff of more than 20,000 personnel with a "tired" fleet is too much!

June 29, 2013 12:07 am

PIA ---Pathetic, Inefficient, Airline.

June 29, 2013 9:24 am

indeed great I was comg from islamabad to karachi no seat found but infact it is in tragedy why I dont know

June 29, 2013 1:38 pm

I work for the Boeing company and we deal with airlines from all over the world. Air India and PIA are two airlines that have become a joke in Boeing due to their staff's incompetence and organizational disarray. PIA has been so careless that they did not even bother to take advantage of Boeing's free warranty contract that was awarded with the purchase of 777. Several years ago when PIA's staff used to come to Seattle to pick up newly purchased 777 aircraft, they used to bring 150 to 400 people including friends and families along. As compare to PIA, the Japanese airlines bring less than 15 people when they deliver their 787 to their country saving huge costs to their country. Fact of the matter is the rest of the world has parted away with national airline and false pride. PIA's has cost several billions in losses during last decade. Pakistan will have trouble finding a buyer even if they want to give it away free. The best thing the government can do is to sell or lease all of the remain aircraft to private parties and write off the loans and never get into aviation business again.

Palvasha von Hassell
June 29, 2013 3:37 pm

Fully Agree. Top slogan, seen none like it. Time to live up to it again.

June 29, 2013 9:03 pm

PIA = Perhaps I Arrive.

Osama Khalid
June 29, 2013 11:27 pm

@Agha Ata: I think you should appreciate to what PIA's staff is doing for you people, how the cabin crew bears all sort of harassment from the passenger side. You should appreciate the efforts of ground maintenance staff for working tirelessly in scorching heat, sweating like hell but still managing make these metal things fly despite the shortage of parts, resources etc. If you want to criticize, then criticize the government plus political parties for bringing in there favorite team and ruining the whole corporation. PIA is still a source of earning foreign exchange for PAK by allowing there maintenance staff joining other airlines which in return help Pakistan.

Ebrahim Tily
June 29, 2013 11:54 pm

I still feel that the slogan "Great people to fly with" stands good for PIA. The reasons being good pilots and inflight service. The only problem is there is too much Government involvement as mentioned by Mr. Malik, once PIA gets rid of Government it will show profits and hence bring in confidence of the Shareholders. Let us hope that the new Government will address this issue.

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