Orient Airways's logo
|Commenced operations||4 June 1947|
11 March 1955
10 Douglas DC-3|
3 Convair 240
|Headquarters||Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan|
|Key people||Mirza Ahmad Ispahani (Chairman)|
Orient Airways Ltd. was an airline established in 1946 with its base in Calcutta, Bengal, British India. The airline shifted operations to the newly independent state of Pakistan in 1947, and was rechristened as Pakistan International Airlines in 1955. It was the first and only Muslim owned airline in British Raj and flew from 1947 to 1955.
The airline was registered in Calcutta, British Raj on 23 October 1946. The initial investment was provided by the Ispahani, Adamjee, and the Arag group. Mirza Ahmad Ispahani, being its first Chairman, and Air Vice Marshal O.K. Carter, the General Manager, obtained an operating licence on May 1947. Four Douglas DC-3s were obtained from Temple, Texas in February 1947 and operations first started on 4 June 1947. The designated route was Kolkata-Sittwe (then known as Akyab)-Yangon (Myanmar), which also happened to be the first post-war international operation to be flown by an airline registered in the British Raj.
Orient Airways, along with the help of some chartered BOAC aircraft, started relief operations and transportation of the population between Delhi and Karachi, the capitals of India and Pakistan, respectively. Later, Orient Airways transferred its base to Pakistan and established the vital link between Karachi and Dhaka (Dacca). With a skeleton fleet of just two DC-3s, three crew and twelve mechanics, Orient Airways re-launched its scheduled operations. The initial routes were Karachi-Lahore-Peshawar, Karachi-Quetta-Lahore, and Karachi-Delhi-Kolkata-Dhaka. By the end of 1949, Orient Airways had acquired 10 DC-3s and 3 Convair 240s which it operated on these particular routes. In 1950, it had become increasingly apparent that additional capacity would have to be inducted in order to cater to the growing needs of the South Asia.
On 11 March 1955, the government of Pakistan merged Orient Airways with other airlines to form Pakistan International Airlines.
Orient Airways aircraft had a green strip with the word "Orient Airways" or "Orient Skyliner". The tail was marked with the flag of Pakistan after the independence on 14 August 1947.
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