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History of PIA - Pakistan International Airlines

PIA Province Tails Livery

Text Source: PIA

Pakistan is nourished by the Indus that originates in the Himalayas and flows down into the Arabian Sea. It is the home of one of the oldest Civilizations on earth, the Indus Valley Civilization. From the north where six of the highest mountains ranges meet, it flows down the beautiful valleys of the Frontier, across the rich plains of the Punjab, skirting the mountainous Baluchistan, down the plains and deserts of Sindh until it finally flows down into the Arabian sea. Rich in culture and heritage, its motifs and colors have had a unique quality, cherished by millions through the centuries. Pakistan archaeological finds, one of the oldest in the world, is exemplified by Mehrgarh finds, some 9500 years old.

On March 14, 2006, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), the national flag carrier, in its effort to portray the rich heritage it inherits announced a partial change in its livery, specifically aircraft tail, to reflect the colours and artistic excellence of its four Provinces and proudly fly around the globe, for one and all to reflect on its grandeur.

In so doing, it has chosen some of the finest of motifs characteristic of the four Provinces comprising Pakistan. Not only was this need for change qualified by the massive change occurring in PIA as a whole, but also reinforced by the national flag carrier’s desire to pool in its humble contribution in the integration of the country as a whole. The result is a colourful tail of PIA airplanes, which in itself is named after the most remarkable characteristic of each province. All this is bonded by the retention of the National Flag repositioned for more emphasis on the main body of the fuselage. PIA aircraft will be done in this livery on the tail over approximately a two year time span, before the entire fleet is completed. Let us take the Provinces one by one and describe what each tail design represents for the entire fleet of PIA aircraft.

Frontier Province

PIA Airbus A310-308

Airbus A310-308  (Copyright © Stephan Kruse)

This aircraft's tail depicts the motif of North West Frontier Province

Frontier: Home of proud Pathans, the North West Frontier Province stretches from the Khyber Pass in the north-west to the mighty Karakorum Range in the north-east. The airplane's tail is resplendent by the “Phulkari” (flowering) pattern that reflects a rich and colorful tradition of embroidery generally done on shawls, shirts and linen. Often bearing strong Greek influence from the days of Ghandara civilization, these vibrant geometric patterns and motifs, all in primary colors, reflect exquisite detail and precision of craftsmanship. The tail of the airplane bears witness to this design.

Punjab Province

PIA Boeing 747-367

Boeing 747-367  (Copyright © Muhammad Ali)

This aircraft's tail depicts the motif of Punjab Province

Punjab: As the land of the five rivers the Province of Punjab in Pakistan offers a feast for the senses. With its lush valleys and verdant plains the crafts of the Punjab have a rich and vibrant tradition from the ‘royal’ craftsmanship of its urban centers to the village crafts of the rural areas. The patterns and the motifs vary from floral designs to figures of birds to majestic elephants. Its historical buildings and gardens, its glasswork shimmering in the Sheesh Mahal, the art of Punjab is best exemplified in the exquisite tile decoration of the Wazir Khan Mosque in Lahore, which is the design on the tail of the airplane.



Baluchistan Province

PIA ATR 42-500

ATR 42-500  (Copyright © Farrukh Bhati)

This aircraft's tail depicts the motif of Baluchistan Province

Baluchistan: Pakistan’s Baluchistan Province stretches from the coast of Makran in the west to the mountain passes of Bolan and Gomal in the north. This is the land of the thousand of years old Juniper Forests. The local craftsmanship reflects the proud Baluch tribal tradition. A striking and colorful reflection of robust creativity is seen in the kilims, carpets and rugs woven with wool, goat or camel hair and mixed yarn. The pattern is mostly bold geometric motifs in primary colors dominated by red and making it strikingly beautiful.

Sindh Province

PIA Boeing 777-340ER

Boeing 777-340ER  (Copyright © Matt Cawby)

This aircraft's tail depicts the motif of Sindh Province

Sindh: Situated in the heart of the Indus Valley Civilization, exemplified by the ruins Moen-jo-daro, the Sindh Province in Southern Pakistan has an ancient and rich tradition of art and crafts. Among them, Hala tile work is one of the most striking representations of a craftsmanship that transforms clay into an object of undying and pristine beauty. Exquisitely adorned with electric blue and white floral pattern and motifs, the Hala craft signifies a labour of love and a passion for perfection. These floral patterns and motifs constitute the design of the aircraft’s tail.

List of PIA Aircraft That Received Province Tails Livery

Regn. Type of Aircraft Cn/Sn Mfd Delivery City Name


AP-BAK Boeing 747-240B (SCD) 21825/383 1979 26-07-79 Thar - Colours of the Desert

Sindh Province Motif

AP-BAT Boeing 747-240B (SCD) 22077/429 1980 07-03-80 Quetta - Nature's Orchard Baluchistan Province Motif
AP-BCA Boeing 737-340 23294/1114 1985 31-05-85 Gilgit - The Silk Route Frontier Province Motif
AP-BCB Boeing 737-340 23295/1116 1985 03-06-85 Multan - City of Saints Punjab Province motif
AP-BCC Boeing 737-340 23296/1121 1985 18-06-85 Quetta - Nature's Orchard

Baluchistan Province Motif

AP-BCD Boeing 737-340 23297/1122 1985 21-06-85 Turbat - Romantic Interludes Baluchistan Province Motif
AP-BCF Boeing 737-340 23299/1235 1986 20-06-86 Sukkur - Date Delights by the river Sindh Province Motif
AP-BDZ Airbus A310-308 585 1991 25-06-91 Hyderabad - City of Perfumes Sindh Province Motif
AP-BEB Airbus A310-308 587 1991 26-07-91 Thatta - Treasures of the Past

Sindh Province Motif

AP-BEC Airbus A310-308 590 1991 02-09-91 Nowshera - Defenders of the Land Frontier Province Motif
AP-BEG Airbus A310-308 653 1992 23-09-92 Gilgit - The Silk Route Frontier Province Motif
AP-BEH Boeing 737-33A 25504/2341 1992 08-09-92 Chitral - Mysteries of the Kalash Frontier Province Motif
AP-BEU Airbus A310-308 691 1994 11-05-94 Peshawar - Gateway to the East

Frontier Province Motif

AP-BFT Boeing 737-340 23298/1123 1985 25-06-85 Bahawalpur - The Splendour and Majesty Punjab Province motif
AP-BFU Boeing 747-367 23392/634 1986 26-04-99 Islamabad - The Margalla Magic Punjab Province motif
AP-BFV Boeing 747-367 23534/659 1986 27-04-99 Peshawar - Gateway to the East

Frontier Province Motif

AP-BFW Boeing 747-367 23221/615 1985 14-06-99 Lahore - Garden of the Mughals

Punjab Province motif

AP-BFX Boeing 747-367 23709/671 1987 28-04-99 Karachi - Green Turtle Waters

Sindh Province Motif

AP-BFY Boeing 747-367 23920/690 1987 07-07-99 Ziarat - The City of Flowers Baluchistan Province Motif
AP-BGG Boeing 747-367 24215/709 1988 06-11-02 Kaghan - Mountain Paradise Frontier Province Motif
AP-BGN Airbus A310-324ET 676 1993 23-12-03 Taxila - The Exquisite Ghandhara Punjab Province motif
AP-BGO Airbus A310-324ET 678 1993 27-12-03 Gwadar - The New Port City Baluchistan Province Motif
AP-BGP Airbus A310-324ET 682 1993 29-01-04 Murree - Songs of the Pines

Punjab Province motif

AP-BGQ Airbus A310-325ET 660 1992 26-05-04 Sialkot - The Diligence of Industry Punjab Province motif
AP-BGR Airbus A310-325ET 687 1993 12-07-04 Mohenjodaro - Indus Valley Civilization

Sindh Province Motif

AP-BGS Airbus A310-325ET 689 1993 29-06-04 Ziarat - The City of Flowers Baluchistan Province Motif
AP-BHH ATR 42-500 645 2006 31-05-06 Gwadar - The New Port City

Baluchistan Province Motif

AP-BHI ATR 42-500 653 2006 25-11-06 Ziarat - The City of Flowers Baluchistan Province Motif
AP-BHJ ATR 42-500 657 2006 30-12-06 Mohenjodaro - Indus Valley Civilization Sindh Province Motif
AP-BHM ATR 42-500 659 2007 06-03-07 Hala - Shades of Ash and Azure Sindh Province Motif
AP-BHN ATR 42-500 661 2007 06-04-07 Chitral - Mysteries of the Kalash Frontier Province Motif
AP-BHO ATR 42-500 663 2007 15-05-07 Hasanabdal - The Gurdwara Glory Punjab Province motif
AP-BHP ATR 42-500 665 2007 18-06-07 Gilgit - The Silk Route Frontier Province Motif
AP-BHV Boeing 777-340ER 33778/601 2006 21-12-06 Thar - Colours of the Desert Sindh Province Motif
AP-BHW Boeing 777-340ER 33779/611 2007 08-02-07 Lahore - Garden of the Mughal Punjab Province motif
AP-BHX Boeing 777-240ER 35296/613 2007 09-03-07 Quetta - Nature's Orchard Baluchistan Province Motif
AP-BID Boeing 777-340ER 33780/705 2008 28-03-08 Gilgit - The Silk Route Frontier Province Motif


Regn.   =   Registration (tail number)

Type of Aircraft   =   Exact type of aircraft

Cn/Sn   =   Construction number/manufacturer's serial number

Mfd   =   Year of manufacture

Delivery   =   Date (d/m/y) of aircraft delivery to PIA

City Name   =   City name given to the aircraft followed by a brief remark about that city

Tail Motif Key:

North West Frontier Province motif


North West Frontier Province motif

Punjab Province motif


Punjab Province motif

Baluchistan Province Motif


Baluchistan Province motif

Sindh Province Motif


Sindh Province motif

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