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Momi Gul Durrani: The Face of PIA : ALL THINGS PAKISTAN
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Momi Gul Durrani: The Face of PIA

Posted on July 23, 2008
Filed Under >Owais Mughal, People
Total Views: 30190


Owais Mughal

On May 20, 1965 Pakistan International Airlines Flight PK705 from Dhahran was descending on the runway of Cairo airport. This was PIA’s inaugural flight to Cairo. 119 unfortunate people onboard died.

Among the victims was PIA’s trend setter air-stewardess Momi Gul Durrani.

At ATP we have done a number of posts of PIA – both on its high-flying early years (here, here, here) and its more troubled recent years (here, here, here). If ever there was a “Face of PIA,” it was Momi Gul Durrani. No PIA personality, with the exception of Air Marshal Nur Khan (who, in fairness, was already a celebrity before he came to PIA) has ever achieved such public recognition, affection and fame as Momi Durrani did.

Quoting from the Mr. Abbas Ali‘s website History of PIA:

Momi was one of PIA’s highly trained, professional and hard working cabin crew members of 1950s and 1960s. She was tall, fair with film-star looks. In short period of time she gained immense popularity and achieved status of a bright star and a legend in PIA’s glorious history.

Omar Kureishi, while writing an article in Dawn of March 30, 2003 recalled Momi in following words:

(For the inaugural PIA flight to Cairo) We had our VIP cabin crew including Momi Durrani, a Pathan girl, tall and fair with film-star looks. We had featured Momi in our advertisements. When she smiled, she made others smile.

In the first two photos, Momi Gul Durrani is seen in 1950s uniform of PIA. Once again quoting from website History of PIA (re. the first photograph):

This photos shows PIA’s legendary Air Hostess Momi Gul Durrani in 1950s uniform. This uniform was designed by Frenchman Chausee Fortaignelle who was with PIA on a 5 year deputation from Pan Am. In this design a white shalwar and dupatta were set off by a green shirt with white cuffs and collar. Shoes and bags were black. The most interesting item of this uniform was a jaunty green cap for the hostesses. This uniform design was used from 1955 to 1960

Photo to the right is the monument (graves) of 119 fateful passengers of PK705 in Cairo, Egypt.

Note: As written above, PK705 was an inaugural flight in a sense that it was the resumption of Karachi-Cairo service which had been suspended for many years until the fateful day of May 20, 1965.


(1) History of PIA by Abbas Ali
(2) Dr. Ghulam Nabi Kazi’s Photo Selection at Flickr.com
(3) The Cairo Crash by Omer Kureishi
(4) Photo of the PK705 memorial is from Wikipedia

128 comments posted

Comment Pages: [16] 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 61 » Show All

  1. n.ali khan says:
    November 26th, 2014 3:29 pm

    good bye you all, victims of pia boeing, sleep, sleep and sleep

    drigh cantt bazar.

  2. K.Gul Durrani says:
    November 15th, 2014 10:07 am

    Momi Momi, we never forget yours dolly smiling face, the day you left for ever, the 20th may 1965.

    good bye,
    kg durrani,
    mall road-pindi

  3. m.asif mangi says:
    October 22nd, 2014 10:39 am

    Yes, it was historic tragedy of our national airline in the era of mid of 60s,

    Allah bless them all ( ameen )

    ,m.asif mangi.
    mohammad ali society-karachi

  4. s a siddiqui says:
    January 3rd, 2012 10:46 am

    Indeed this was a very tragic air accident of that era, this still
    cherish in my memory down lane, with above noted high lights,
    fresh my all feelings about that date back era of 1965, 20th May.

    May Allah bless all who died in this accident (ameen)

    s a siddiqui,
    gushan e iqbal-

  5. zasuri says:
    December 27th, 2011 10:32 am

    since early 50s, my father was working in deptt of civil aviation,
    we were very much familiar with Airports related affairs, when
    this PIA-Boeing 720-B, tragic accident happend, my late father was very sad, whole the week, by his opinion this was a great loss of our nation and airline, with many personalities related
    newspaper media, chinese engineers etc,

    still some glimpses are on my downlane memories even today,


  6. najam nasir ghani says:
    December 19th, 2011 3:36 pm

    At the time of this tragic accident my father was working with
    PIA in their Catering service, we were very much informed about the day to day daily issues of our National Airline,

    On 21st May 1965, father was very sad, many his friends visited him regarding the tragic accident, what we felt that, everyone
    were very sad for this great national loss,

    najam nasir ghani,

  7. hassan jameel alvi says:
    December 13th, 2011 12:24 pm

    the event of tragic aircrash of pia 720-boeing was, was a
    great tragedy of era 1965, we still remembers the feelings
    of our surroundings at that time we lived at karachi airport,

    gulshan e iqbal-karachi

  8. zia un nabi khan says:
    December 3rd, 2011 10:30 am

    This was a tragic news for all of us, all local news papers were
    full of stories of deceased families and fatalities, i remember, there was one news that Capt Akhter Ali Khan, flight commander was to shift his new house, FS Momi was not on duty roll, but was called on umergency due to sickness of some
    sterwardess, cairo aircrash was a national tradgedy in the year 1965, May the 20th,

    ziaunnabi khan,

Comment Pages: [16] 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 61 » Show All

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