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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

192 comments posted

Comment Pages: [24] 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 141 » Show All

  1. Professor H.A. Alvi says:
    September 19th, 2014 3:50 pm

    I was teaching at S>M>College, Professor A.S.Kohati was
    our Principal, during a teachers meeting, this news reached to us with a very surprise, as I was living at Airport Staff
    Quaters, we gathered all the first hand news through Radio and Newspaper.
    Really this was a very shocking incident for all of us,

    H>A> ALVI.

  2. fasathussainhashmi says:
    July 28th, 2014 10:08 am

    at the time of this great tragedy happend in Cairo city, i was
    posted as Pesh Imam of airport mosque, peoples were gathered at Airport PIA-Booking desk for first hand information, it was a great tragedy for PIA,

    fashat hussain hashmi,

  3. ms.rahat saeed says:
    July 21st, 2014 8:53 am

    it was a very sad news to announce from radio/ tv media, we were under trial production at ptv station, when this shocking
    news received from pia-head office, airport karachi.

    we all staff members felt that this our family personal loss,

    rahat saeed,
    stadium road-karachi

  4. khalid shaukat fatmi says:
    July 16th, 2014 12:29 pm

    50 years past, this accident happened at cairo airport, i have
    not seen, no newspaper or media arranged a progrrame and
    years to remember, the media and press staff died in this

    khalid shaukat fatmi,
    drigh colony no 3,

  5. tariq jalbani says:
    July 12th, 2014 8:49 am

    Least but not the last, near 50 years past, many news media
    person were the victims of this aircrash, but no feature or write-ups were memorised in the press media, how ill filling
    media persons now lives in a day,

    sorry for their this part of character,

    tariq jalbai,
    old area, karachi

  6. ali muhammad rampuri says:
    July 8th, 2014 10:07 am

    yes, yest, i witnessed, it was a tragic news of that time, i was
    teaching in airport boys primary school, karach airport, near terminal 1,
    ali muhammad rampuri,
    ex teacher airport primary school,

  7. syed sharafat ali says:
    July 4th, 2014 9:04 am

    PIA Cairo air- crash tragedy was a big blown up of PIA, even
    today, passengers were famous personality linked with Press,
    Newspaper media and travel agents, those who do passengers
    bookings jobs, no doubt a great tradgedy,

    Syed sharafat ali,
    ex-pia air ticketing sales staff,
    pia sales office-club road-karachi

  8. zia u nagil says:
    July 1st, 2014 11:44 am

    It was a great tragedy of that era 60s, as i found,

    zia ul islam nagi,

Comment Pages: [24] 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 141 » Show All

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