PIA was the first non- Communist airline to establish an air link with China. The national airline’s.China flight was greeted with enthusiasm by the governments, and people of both countries.Congratulatory messages and greetings were exchanged. The event made headlines not only inAsia but throughout the world.
The start of air service to China within just ten years of its inception was a reflection of the enterprising and pioneering spirit of the airline.
During its 20 years of operation, the PIA China flight, called the Silk route in its early days, has opened up new gateways for business and tourism. Starting from a scratch, tourism is today one of the fastest growing industries in China. With more than a hundred cities open to visitors, compared to only 5 cities in the early days, China is rapidly expanding its tourism infrastructure.
In the early years of the China flight PIA virtually enjoyed a monopoly on this route. In January 1973 PIA became the first airline to operate 2 weekly services to Beijing via Islamabad. The airline has over the years contributed significantly to closer social and economic relations between China and Pakistan and between China and the rest of the world. PIA has facilitated a constant exchange of artists and cultural troupes.
Massive growth has been recorded in PIA during the 20 years the airline has been serving China. To keep pace with increasing passengers, freight and fleet, PIA has expanded its ground facilities which now include a modern wide-body hangar, extensive catering facilities and computerised reservation system.
PIA, the nation’s biggest corporation, helps to link remote areas of the country with its mainstream and the country with the rest of the world. Its network today covers 60 cities in 4 continents.
To commemorate the 20th Anniversary of PIA’s China service, Pakistan Post Office is issuing a postage stamp of Rs. 3.00 denomination on April 29, 1984.