ATP Repost: PIA Ad Re Deux

Posted on August 29, 2007
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Photo of the Day, Society
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Adil Najam

The 1960s PIA advertisement that had been featured as the ATP Picture of the Day on 12 June, 2006 is one of the most visited blogpost to date.

We had featured a second PIA Ad from that era on June 24, 2006, which is also interesting but got considerably less attention.

Today, as I prepare to catch my PIA flight to Pakistan (this evening) I thought I might repost it. As we have commented on various occasions, the edge has come off PIA. Sometimes one wonders if the wings will too. I hope they won’t; at least not today!

The crew I will encounter tonight will be wearing a different set of uniforms, but the PIA crew uniform from the 1960s has an interesting pedigree to it. That celebrated uniform is featured in this PIA ad.

According to PIA literature:

In 1966, Pierre Cardin, the renowned French fashion designer, came up with the legendary fawn and moss green summer and winter uniform edged with turquoise. The uniform consisted of a short, easy fitting “A” line tunic, slim-line trousers and imaginatively moulded dupatta that not only covered heads but also turned heads. The uniform became an instant hit, the slim-line trousers immediately were dubbed as ‘PIA Pajamas’. Fashion-conscious young ladies, all across Pakistan, copied Cardin’s design eagerly. This popular uniform design was used by the airline from 1966 to 1975.

Anyhow, combined with the other one, or alone, what–if anything–does this ad say about how Pakistan saw itself; then and now?

23 Comments on “ATP Repost: PIA Ad Re Deux”

  1. Altamash Mir says:
    June 25th, 2006 4:01 am

    Indeed, the uniform looks spectacular…and the entire atitude seems so positive..I’m in love with this era…The Pakistan that I see looks free of worry and expresses itself beautifully…

  2. Hamza says:
    June 25th, 2006 12:21 pm

    Very true. The PIA of today seems to be a far cry seems to be a far cry from that of the 60′s. The decline in fortunes of our national air carrier seem to mirror that of the progressiveness in our society in general.

  3. Daktar daktar says:
    June 25th, 2006 1:29 pm

    Actually PIA used to be excellent. Its reputation was kind of like what Singapore Airlines or Emirates has today. Cutting edge, effecient, friendly and fun. I think many of the people who started Emirates were PIA people. But, let me also say that PIA may be on its way back. New planes, new designs, and hopefully new attitudes.

  4. Altamash Mir says:
    June 29th, 2006 2:11 am

    I hope that you are right about that…I come from a PIA family and have close emotional attachments with the company…

  5. Arsalan Ali says:
    September 22nd, 2006 1:31 pm

    I agree with Daktar sahab, all is not lost yet and PIA seems to be making some efforts these days to recapture some of that past glory.

  6. Asad says:
    February 19th, 2007 3:59 pm

    Very nice. There should be a move to use the policies of that era modified for today’s world.

  7. Khurram says:
    August 29th, 2007 2:41 pm

    Speaking of uniforms, Mr. Musharraf has agreed to remove his.

  8. August 29th, 2007 2:47 pm

    Thanks Khurram… maybe there is a subconcious theme here… I had thought of doing something on Musharraf’s uniform but did not have the time…. plus, I think the 1960s PIA uniform was so much smarter ;-)

  9. faraz says:
    August 29th, 2007 3:55 pm

    I think this PIA uniform represents Pakistan better.

    Some of my friends complain that in PIA, they dont serve alcohol. Is it true?

    In order to be business friendly they should serve alocohol. This is biggest reason why muslims are lagging behind hindus in hospitality industry( like restuarents) in USA.

  10. August 29th, 2007 4:50 pm

    ok here’s my take on this:

    1) The Ad: Its creative, fun and well made. but i do not agree that modern pakistani ads are not that progressive and creative anymore. Many FMCG, Telecom and Banking companies in pakistan routinely come up with advertising (yes in today’s world) that is modern, hip, fun and quite creative. Judging from these ads, even today pakistan sees itself as a progressive and dynamic nation – atleast a section of our society does, which i trust is a “very” large section.

    2) it is usually a small minority which depicts everything being gloomy, and this depiction ultimately effects the perception of rest of the people. our media today is too busy with pointing out “issues” left, right and center. our opinion leaders are habitually pessimistic, leading to the state we are in now.

    3) PIA is a pretty okay airline. The bigger planes are actually quite comfortable. The food is good and service is usually good too.

    4) In local flights atleast, as soon as the plane lands and you unfasten your seatbelt (metal ka chapta hissa….), the airline crew puts on the music of rangeela’s “ik hussan ki devi say mujhe piyar huwa tha….” They do it in every flight i think. i wonder who instructed them to put this one song and nothing else on earth :)

    5) i heard that PIA experienced lot of staff attrition to new middle eastern airlines. this could be one of the reasons for deterioration in service quality.

    6) airblue vs. pia… against popular opinion, i would still go for pia… (for international travel though, i “never” choose pia, as there are far better options available there, starting from good old emirates.

    7) airblue does have a better check-in system though. much much better, with very good service.

    8) i think pia should experiment more in terms of uniform, food and specially songs.

  11. Idealist says:
    August 29th, 2007 7:01 pm

    Adil have a safe and pleasant trip…your post brings back a lot of good memories of my travels with” great people to fly with”.

  12. Shahbaz Khan says:
    August 29th, 2007 7:13 pm

    The PIA management is pressing hard for a quick sale of the company-owned Roosevelt hotel in New York. Ever-increasing bids are dropping in from real estate agents worldwide but what puzzles me is why PIA would be so eager to sell off a valuable asset whose value is rising by the hour. Not surprisingly, some irregularities have surfaced in connection with the hiring of consultant firms for the sell-off. Let us hope PIA does not end up as PTCL and KESC… another prized national asset squandered through an unneeded and corrupt privatization.

  13. August 30th, 2007 12:09 am

    a fascinating read is this website.

    A history of PIA.

  14. Mubarak says:
    August 30th, 2007 1:25 am

    This ad represents the nation which is on the road to progress. Today’s PIA does not depict that.

  15. Khurram M says:
    August 30th, 2007 2:09 am

    PIA has been loosing traction for a long time. Over the years people have been misled by symptomatic remedies such management replacement, financial bailouts, new/used aircraft acquisitions. None of these brought PIA grandeur back rather the airline is currently loosing Rs. 3-4 billion a month.

  16. JayJay says:
    August 30th, 2007 7:48 am

    Let us get rid of this white elephant. (Actually it should have been done 15 years back) There is no hope that it can be salvaged from the mess it is engulfed in. A privatized PIA will be an incentive for authorities to genuinely open up our skies to competition and lure investment in aviation. Funds allocated to operate this airline (notorious for having one of the worst plane-to-staff ratio) and the financial guarantees lavished to obtain loans for it can be better spent on financing the development of aviation infrastructure in the country. It is not wise to throw good money after bad money year after year.

    As if removing alcohol from menu was not sufficient; people have witnessed male crew congregating at the rear of the cabin to pray in the middle of the flight. I would rather crew serve than pray while on duty. No wonder the beginning of the relentless decline of PIA coincides with the discovery of Islam in Pakistan under pious rule of Mard-e-Momin.

  17. JayJay says:
    August 30th, 2007 7:57 am

    I think there are not many commercial airlines, other than our PIA, which are run by a country’s Defence Ministry. But then I will struggle to name anything of ‘value’ in Pakistan where the professional ‘competence’ of an organization of Defence Ministry has not left its grubby marks. Sell it, even if we have to pay from our own pockets to do it. It will be one off payment, not the annual

  18. Eidee Man says:
    August 30th, 2007 8:51 am

    I just returned from PIA’s soon-to-go-out-of-service flight from Karachi to Chicago. The highlight of my experience was having a full 2 liter bottle of 7-up spilled on me….my shirt, pants, etc, etc were SOAKING WET.

    Anyway, I lived to fly another day on PIA…it’s a decent airline :).

    Also about this comment:

    “Some of my friends complain that in PIA, they dont serve alcohol. Is it true?

    In order to be business friendly they should serve alocohol. This is biggest reason why muslims are lagging behind hindus in hospitality industry( like restuarents) in USA.”

    Actually, I’d rather they did not. How far should a country go to make itself more appealing to foreign tourists? From this comment, it seems like the colonized mindset is still raging strong. If PIA brushed itself up and got its act together with reservations issues, prices, service, and punctuality, it will be much better airline….it doesn’t have to start with alcohol….also, I know plenty of non-Muslims who drink and I don’t think anyone of them uses alcohol as a criterion for picking a flight….that being said, it may be your criteria. Sad.

  19. Israr says:
    August 30th, 2007 9:03 am

    I think that sends the vibes of a nation looking at a bright future , what we have seen after that is a nation looking at gloom, There has been a change in my personal outlook, it has varied from that of optimistic to gloomy to now optimistic again. I find myself gloomy reading today that the SHC had to order a raid commisioner to ” Bazyab ” people from a police station, but optimistic that Supreme court finally has gotten some people out of the clutches of ” agencies”. I think we should celebrate the fact that even in such Lawless circumstances in Pakistan , the court now is doing the right thing. Lets celebrate them as heroes as we need to brighten the horizon, happy flying

  20. basit says:
    August 30th, 2007 10:55 am

    PIA seems to be making some efforts these days to recapture some of that past glory.

  21. D_a_n says:
    August 30th, 2007 11:44 am

    as far as PIA serving alcohol is concerned…I would rather that they didnt do that….
    as in my experience most western travellers are looking for a reasonably priced airfare…easy and quick check in…less transits and courteous service like the rest of us…

    in my experience…more desis are pining for a strong spririt on an airline that the ‘goras’….
    ive lost count of how many times Ive seen Desis get rowdy due to them having had one to many….

    and by the way…is it just me or has anyone else noticed just how many male PIA cabin crew members have beards…im not talking short neat beards….but big bushy Taliban beards..??

  22. BitterTruth says:
    August 30th, 2007 4:04 pm

    PIA has currently a deficit of 1 billion per month.. yes thats right 1 billion per month.

  23. JayJay says:
    August 30th, 2007 7:13 pm

    I do not have an exact figure of monthly operational losses incurred by

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