Red, White and Black

PIA: Through the times
16 November, 2006, 2:47 pm
Filed under: Pakistan

I stumbled across this site today. I was looking through the memorabilia that chronicles the history of PIA and couldn’t help but notice a few trends. Thought they would be interesting to share here.

The first thing I noticed was the gradual change in the uniforms of the air hostesses. Not only did the uniforms become more conservative but they also lost some of their class.

Consider this image from the 60s:

60sa uniform

Not very classy in my opinion, but it cannot be called conservative and now consider this from the 70’s:

cardin memo34

I like this uniform – its chic! But note that dupatta is more elaborate and it is used to cover the head now. The 80’s uniform was:

80sa uniform


80sc uniform

Notice the dupatta covering the bosom is a lot more elaborate now. And then the uniform turns into this horrific dupatta wearing style in the 90’s:

school memo27

The head-covering is gone, but what is with the duppatta?! More importantly, through these ads you can just see the change society went through. It started off as rather liberal in nature – not too high on “modesty” of women. It then took a more conservative turn, which can evidenced in the form of the head-covering and duppatta covering used in the images. The great emphasis is on “modesty”. But then this was also the period the country saw the rule of Bhutto and Zia. Then as society struggled to wriggle out of Zia’s oppression, we see the head-scarf disappear and dupatta’s utility comeback to normal:

04 uniform

But it is sad to note that the current uniform is mundane – hardly reflects the vibrant way Pakistani women dress up. Where did that class of the 60’s/70’s disappear?

Another point that struck me was the innovative nature of advertising in the old days! Sample from these two from the 1960s:

ad memo7ad memo3

and this from the 90s and the current decade:

ad memo2bstars ad memo20

The ads from the yesteryears have two distinctive features: one, they present a very dynamic and alluring face of PIA and two, they seem to be targeting international fliers. Both of them entice you towards PIA. The more recent ads lack on both counts. I don’t recall coming across any dynamic ads by PIA in the recent years.

From me this points to two things. One, the very nature of society has metamorphised since the 60’s – the daring and vibrant quality that is seen in the first two ads is missing. Two, it shows why PIA as a corporation is nearing bankruptcy. It has lost the innovative touch that would have allowed it to compete at a global level – a tiredness of some sort seems to have set in.

One last thing that struck me was the PIA motif from the old days. Notice the Bengal tiger:


That too was an era, that came to an end. It makes one wonder how history modifies the identity of a people – the Bengal tiger once represented Pakistan. Not any more. History is cruel.
I would encourage you to go through the memorabilia. It makes for a very interesting journey through the decades.


8 Comments so far
Leave a comment

The second pic is awesome! (referring to the uniform of course)

Comment by BD

lol @ your clarification : P

Comment by ayesha

i’m afraid I cant see most of the pictures.

Comment by sabizak

i’m afraid I cant see most of the pictures so cannot really enjoy this post or comment meaningfully.

Comment by sabizak

Sabizak, I have contacted the wordpress support. Hopefully, they will fix this soon.

Comment by ayesha

Most of the pictures are not showing up!

Comment by IMeMy

Umm, folks how it now?

Comment by ayesha

I like the flying PIA tiger/cheetah 😉

Comment by Internet Marketing in Pakistan

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: