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Momi Gul Durrani: The Face of PIA

Posted on July 23, 2008
Filed Under >Owais Mughal, People
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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
(3) The Cairo Crash by Omer Kureishi
(4) Photo of the PK705 memorial is from Wikipedia

176 comments posted

Comment Pages: [22] 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 121 » Show All

  1. ansar ahmed says:
    April 19th, 2014 12:21 pm

    we used to live drigh colony no.3 hajira abad, many pia staff
    persons were living in our adjacent houses, there was hue and cry of their nearer and dearers, who were killed in this sad

    ansar ahmed,
    hajira abad, drigh colony

  2. mvfernendez says:
    April 14th, 2014 10:38 am

    One of my cousin Sunny Andrews ( Tonny ) was victim of
    this fateful air accident occured near cairo airport in the year
    20th may 1965.

    goanese house-saddar,

  3. mashraf kohati says:
    March 27th, 2014 10:35 am

    indeed it was a great tragedy of 1960s era, still we remember,

    mashraf kohati,
    ex nma (gil) karachi

  4. sohail saleh says:
    March 17th, 2014 10:22 am

    after a brief review and conclusions, of expert aviators
    and other ground realities, it seems that aircraft engine
    and other components were ok and good condition, simply
    cockpits crew errors, early landing gears concluded this

    sohail saleh,
    hill park lane-karachi

  5. m.freed barelvi says:
    March 14th, 2014 4:28 pm

    when this fateful event happend, my late father was teaching
    in govt.secondry school and we used to live at barrck 330,
    near airport terminal 2, now barrck is smashed.
    i remember the rush of people at old terminal 1 and
    their sorrow faces.

    fareed barlevi.

  6. malik mukhtar awan says:
    March 8th, 2014 11:55 am

    i was working in pia security deptt at the time, this tragic
    pia 720-b boeing aircrashed at cairo airport, during landing
    at runway 34, some faces of pia aircrew staff, still fresh in my mind, i never forget them.

    malik mukhtar awan,
    sarghodha orchard farms, awan house.

  7. syed hamid ali naqvi says:
    February 26th, 2014 11:58 am

    I endorsed the event of the cairo aircrash of our national
    airline was talk of the country in the era 1965s,

    ex haroon automobiles ltd.

  8. February 22nd, 2014 10:54 am

    i remembered one of our next door neighbour, was airhostess
    nasima, she was also one of the victim of this tragic aircrash.

    with dowa to Almighty Allah bless them all (ameen)

    asma abdullah,

Comment Pages: [22] 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 121 » Show All

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