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The Grand Pakistan VIP Air Tour By PIA  
User currently offlineN178UA From United Arab Emirates, joined Jan 2001, 1655 posts, RR: 66
Posted (1 year 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 22317 times:
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The Grand Pakistan VIP Air Tour by PIA




I’ve long wanted to go to Pakistan after my first PIA B747-240BM ride, AP-BIK from Hong Kong to Bangkok in January 2007.

Pakistan Int'l B747-240BM Trip Report (Pics/Video) (by N178UA Feb 11 2007 in Trip Reports)

During onboard this flight, I was treated so well and it has developed my interest in flying PIA further onto Pakistan in the future. I have also met with a very kind senior F/E which I still kept in touch up to this date.

However the country has been labeled as one of the very dangerous country and often featured in the newspaper and TV negatively. So I sat on my idea and waited for a while. After succeeding visit to other neighbour countries such as Syria, Sudan and Iran, my interest in visiting Pakistan is growing rapidly. Finally the opportunity arises this year when a colleague of mine kindly arranged the visit visa from the Pakistan High Commission. Otherwise it was almost impossible to get a visit visa from Abu Dhabi without lengthy periods of waiting and investigation.

I have chosen to go in December when the weather is cool. Another friend of mine who is a PIA pilot has kindly introduced me to the Managing Director of PIA on email. Within a few days I have received a very positive reply from the MD and I was invited on this rare opportunity to fly to Pakistan by PIA and visit PIA facility. My pilot friend and I have then been engaged on daily planning of the trip, aiming to visit more cities and have more exposure in a very short time frame.

Finally we have decided to have the trip from December 8 to December 10; within 72 hours I will be flying to visit Karachi, Islamabad, Gilgit and Lahore. This will be a grand tour of Pakistan by PIA.



PK214
Dubai – Karachi
A310-300, AP-BGQ
STD 0130
ATD 0352
STA 0430
ATA 0655
Flight time: 2hours
Seat: Jumpseat
POB: 187 Passengers


Scenes at check-in at Dubai Terminal 1. Another PIA flight leaving for Peshawar accounts for the cargo and people movement in my pictures.






This person is able to checking in a bottle of “Holy” water presumably from Hajj in Makkah.







This cargo are not bound for Pakistan, they belong to another flight to Rwanda. But they’re packed really neat.




It was an eye opener, sometimes you don’t believe you’re in Dubai given the scenes at the terminal. Tonight’s flight to Karachi is delayed due to the aircraft late from inbound. I proceeded to the DCA Business Class lounge for a moment of relaxation before the red eye flight to Karachi.



At 1:30am, I proceed to the gate and I am surprised to find out Biman Bangladesh is our neighbour! Pakistan and Bangladesh was one country before. Additionally, the majorities of our passengers flying to Karachi are Bengalis; continue Eastward to Dhaka with PIA! Quite ironic! The majority of Biman’s passengers are going to Sylhet.




A310-300, AP-BGQ already arrived at the gate. Crew has gone for some Dubai Duty Free while we’re waiting.




The infamous Biman DC-10 parked next to our gate. I really wanted to “jumpship” and fly the DC-10 again! This is BG52 to Sylhet and onward to Dhaka.

There was a riot at the gate by the frustrated Bengali passengers. One DNATA agent treated them really rude and told them to form one line during boarding and started shouting at them. In return the crowd, quite capable for an uprising have a good run at this agent, who later ran away for his own safety……However, the small riot at gate C1 caused the flight to be further delay by 2 more hour or so…….



Meanwhile, our PIA flight passengers (majority Bengalis) have started a much calmer boarding process after observing the riot.

After stepping onboard, I was invited by the purser to go straight into the cockpit, as both pilots are expecting me as a guest of PIA MD.







Flight was further delayed because of some mistakes in baggage loadings. So we were treated to some delicious snacks during the waiting.



Flight engineer busy climbing up and down to the baggage hold to sort the problem out. It was my first time seeing this Airbus feature, to go down to the cargo hold direct from the cockpit.








Around 3:25am, everything is sorted, Pakistan 214 push back approved by Dubai ATC.



The cockpit at night, we are ready to taxi to runway 30R.



At 3:50am, it is finally our turn onto the runway after watching many Emirates B777 and A380 taking off before us.





After a powerful climb out of Dubai, I was treated to views of Dubai Skyline on my left, follow by a left turn over Sharjah and the sea; we continue a 180 degree turn towards the East. I went back to the passenger cabin to have some rest on this uneventful flight.

Old Business Class cabin A310-300






I woke up after a short nap with some resistible food scent and was invited to have supper. Because of the great smell, I couldn’t really turn the food down 

The business class was completely empty, except 4 deadhead PIA pilot travelling on duty returning to Pakistan.






The food consist of a buffet spread of Grill fish, chicken and vegetarian options. All very tasty.



My late supper.



Traditional Pakistani Dessert: Baffi




The friendly crew did not mind posing for a few photos after the meal! (But they did take their time for some more makeup before the photo)






After a hearty meal and some happy snaps with the crew, I went for much needed rest for half an hour or so, and then the purser woke me up and invite me back to the cockpit. A gorgeous sun rise unfolds in front of my eyes!









Thanks to the 2 hours delay, we were treated to this beautiful orange glow of sunrise. Within 10 minutes, the sun popped over the horizon.

We started our descend into Karachi shortly after sunrise. We lined up Runway 25L ILS landing under foggy weather. The First Officer commented it was one of the foggiest mornings he had ever seen.





Shortly after landing, we taxied to domestic terminal and using stairs to disembark. Please view my YouTube video for the takeoff and landing scenes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rEvP...CDSE&list=UUfYCRj25JJQ41JGPqiqXmJw







A souvenir photo, all passengers were disembarking from the rear stairs. The aircraft will operate domestically on the next flight.



Karachi Jinnah International at dawn.







Passenger arriving into International side by bus, clearing immigration and custom.



Huge baggage and crowd arrived from Madinah just in front of our flight.



Within 5 minutes, I was cleared and entered into Pakistan!

The crowd waits at arrival waiting area. A familiar sight at airport in Indian sub-continents.



Another photo of the unique terminal building in Karachi.




After landing, a PIA min-van to take me to the Sheraton Hotel. This is what the Club Room looks like. Very comfortable accommodation. The hotel seems have gone through some refurbishment.



I tried some of the breakfast item such as Keema below: (Mince meat in red chili oil)



Some scenes from the road outside of the hotel.









TO BE CONTINUED


44 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineN178UA From United Arab Emirates, joined Jan 2001, 1655 posts, RR: 66
Reply 1, posted (1 year 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 22649 times:
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After 5 hours of rest, it is time to be ready and go back to Karachi Airport to fly to Islamabad.



The departure screen of domestic side.



The airport has an open hall way. Only ticket holder can enter restricted area to check-in.



Some poster from PIA office.



Inside of the terminal building.





PIA branded boarding pass.



After heavy security check, I arrived at the satellite waiting for boarding of PK308 to Islamabad.







PK308
Karachi - Islamabad
B777-200/ER AP-BHX
STD 1600
ATD 1610
STA 1755
ATA 1750
Flight time: 1 hour 40 minutes
POB: 282 passengers
Seat: Economy Plus, later Jumpseat







Airborne out of Karachi. Urban Sprawl of Karachi below.



Heading North direction.



Economy Plus section, same seat with better leg room.



Economy section.



Business Plus section. 2-3-2 Seating, a total of 35 seats in this section.






This is the in-flight meal between Karachi and Islamabad, not bad for a 1hour 45 mins flight! The Samosas are great!




We visited the cockpit about 20 minutes before landing into Islamabad. The sun is already setting fast.



How roomy the B777 cockpit is from a fish eye!



Approach into Islamabad.



Note the runway is to the left, the right hand side is a major road to the airport.









As expected, a very smooth landing followed by backtrack on the runway to the apron area. There are no taxiways adjacent to the runway at Islamabad.

Please see my YouTube video for the landing inside B777.



There are no aerobridges so we park on a remote bay. Islamabad airport is extremely small in sizes.



Stepping outside the PIA B777!



Some of the scenes at Islamabad airport.












I am staying at the Marriott Islamabad, the very same hotel suffered from a huge bombing incident killed over 50 people a few years ago. What they have done is built a new façade completely separated from the hotel building, so if any attack took place the impact will be limited.









Nice club room



They do celebrate Christmas in Pakistan from this point of view!



With my friend AN



We went outside to meet some of AN’s friend who treated us to this great tasty “Lahori Tikka” restaurant.



Khalid and his wife received a copy of my new book Air2.



Zinger Fish.



Irresistible BBQ Grill



Some sort of curry chicken.



Some street scenes, very few foreigner around so I did raise some attention but it was ok.





Night life at Islamabad, restaurant and ice cream store.



A famous book store where you can buy great Pakistani books.



Usual sight on the street, nicely decorated truck

TO BE CONTINUED


User currently offlineN178UA From United Arab Emirates, joined Jan 2001, 1655 posts, RR: 66
Reply 2, posted (1 year 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 22519 times:
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The next morning I woke up at 5am, in preparation of the first morning flight to Gilgit which departs at 7am. My friend AN picked me up at the hotel and mentioned the flight is confirmed going ahead. The Gilgit (and Northern area) flight is always subject to the weather condition, if the visibility are bad the flight will be cancelled for days. Knowing the flight will be operating is a big relieve.

We got to the airport check-in and found out my return flight from Gilgit to Islamabad is not yet confirmed. There was clearly a risk of not being able to return after flew into Gilgit. The only alternative way is to take a bus which takes over 20 hours compared to the 1 hour flight.

At this point, I decided to forge ahead with my plan even with a slight uncertainty whether I will be able to fly back later. My friend AN will try contact the local PIA chief at Gilgit to help me secure a seat back once we reach Gilgit.

Early morning check-in at Domestic terminal.



“Chance passenger”, I am one of those this morning!



Early morning scenes on the tarmac at Islamabad – Benazir Bhutto Int’l airport







I was the first passenger to board the plane among the pilot and crew. A PIA van took us across the tarmac to the ATR-42.




Surprisingly, the PIA ATR-42 have 2 classes; Economy Plus and Economy.



Here I am sitting in the cozy Economy Plus section before general boarding start.





PK605
Islamabad - Gilgit
ATR-42-500

A clear morning flying out of Islamabad heading North. The air is clear, haze free.



After 15 minutes of flying, we can already see many snow covered mountain on both side. We were cruising at 17,500 feet from sea level and those mountains are not that far from us.








The flight became extremely interesting. The pilots have now switched off the Auto Pilot due to many terrains warning. They both know the route very well and weather visibility is clear.



Amazing scenery enroute heading to the Northern area.



View of Nanga Parbat (Naked Beauty), the second highest mountain in Pakistan. (9th highest in the world with height of 8126m) Some snows are blowing off the mountain top!





After 30 minutes in-flight, the weather suddenly changed, the clear weather gives away for more cloud in the ceiling. The pilot started to discuss whether we will go ahead or turn back to Islamabad. To go ahead and reach Gilgit, we will need good visibility with no low clouds hindering around. If one area has bad visibility, we cannot proceed and will need to turn back.



A decision was made that to continue ahead but taking cautious on weather.






See the line across the mountain, that’s the road to reach Gilgit!



Weather deteriorated and getting darker when we are closer to Gilgit. However with the visibility still above minimum required, looks like we are going to make it in!



Our flight track along the Indus River valley all the way into Gilgit.





Scenery near Gilgit, we started our descend.



A final turn before reaching Gilgit, but I still cannot see where the airport is!



Pilot told me we were on final, but without the runway insight!



Suddenly, I can see the runway emerge from the trees and fog just few hundreds feet before touch down.



It was a thrill on the finals; we landed at the exact touch down spot and rolled to the end before backtracking to the small apron. Within 2-3 minutes, from not even seeing the airport till now having landed safely. My feet are getting a little weak after standing for an hour behind the pilots.

To share with the thrill, please see my YouTube Video on the whole flight.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21tBM...xHDc&list=UUfYCRj25JJQ41JGPqiqXmJw








This is the new terminal building which opens in Jan 2013. The PIA chief at Gilgit came to greet us at the aircraft door. He handed me my return boarding pass; this man did the magic work to find me a seat confirmed on the return flight! The ATR-42 will be operating 2 flights that morning, I will be returning to Islamabad on the last flight.



Security with gun around the apron.



Looking surreal in early morning isn’t it?





We went to visit the ATC Tower (little wooden hut) and met with the controller. Some simple equipment was used in this hill station. Up to 2 PIA ATR-42 called into Gilgit daily. However, the traffic was down from several ATRs and B737s in the past. There were very few foreign tourists visiting Gilgit now compared to the past.





Later, the tower gave us permission to cross the runway with the Jeep to capture photo of the departing flight.









This is the existing terminal building and tower of Gilgit.



An interesting sign but can you really tell who the terrorist is?



Gilgit area chart from the tower.



Simple check-in area with old fashion scales.



Since our ATR-42 took off back to Islamabad and we have about 2 hours waiting in Gilgit before the flight return, the local PIA chief gave us a city tour from his car.






We were taken to Serena Hotel Gilgit (5 stars)





Beautifully appointed lobby.



Great view from the patio at the hotel.



The carving on mountain says “Defender of the North”!



I was treated to this sumptuous Breakfast buffet.



This is the guest room looks like in Serena Hotel. Very few tourists are staying in the winter.



After an excellent breakfast and tea in Serena Hotel, we continue our circle Gigilt tour. You can see rift valley, lot of flowing river and suspension bridge around.












We rushed back to the airport as the last inbound ATR is on its way. The weather has cleared up by now revealing the gorgeous setup in the area.



The operating crew stands in front of the ATR for a photo before our flight.





PK608
Gilgit - Islamabad
ATR-42-500

Final approach into Islamabad Runway 30. You can see there is no taxiway adjacent to the runway so planes have to backtrack on the runway after landing.





Apron of Islamabad



After landing, we headed to the end of runway for some spotting. Waiting for the Air Blue A340 inbound from Lahore.



Roadside rubbish!



After an hour of waiting, she finally showed! Air Blue A340 goes into Manchester usually at night so it remains a difficult plane to photo.



After spotting, we went to Faisal Mosque for some sightseeing.



AN met up with her Sister and family, we went to the Hills surrounding Islamabad for early dinner!



The view is amazing at the top. I was told Islamabad is not your average Indian Sub-continent city; it is surrounded with greeneries and hills.



Tasty BBQ and Pakistani Chinese food!




After a great afternoon on the hills, we rushed back to the airport for my flight to Karachi. We encountered some heavy traffic jam, but luckily AN had informed the captain who will be operating the flight. Amazingly he waited for me at the curb side, take my hand luggage in and hand me a boarding pass and we headed straight to the apron. I was the last passenger to be onboard (turn left straight into the cockpit) and we pushed back ontime! Luckily, I didn’t caused much of a delay because of many businessman/politician were onboard the evening flight to Karachi.


PK309
Islamabad - Karachi
A310-300 BGR
Flight time: 1 hour 50 minutes
POB: 209
Seat: Jumpseat


I sat at the jumpseat the whole way to Karachi in darkness. Except we can see a very bright partition line between India and Pakistan at night, as this is extremely well lit to avoid aircraft flying into other’s territory.

The takeoff scene:



Views from the co-pilot’s seat.




A very nice dinner was served inside the cockpit.



The A310 was a pretty awesome airplane to joyride with. The cockpit is semi-analog, semi-digital. The cockpit is also quite roomy for a medium size aircraft. While Middle East/Indian sub-continent region is still very popular with A310, it remains a rare aircraft in Asia/Europe/America.

Final approach into Karachi Runway 25L.







TO BE CONTINUED


[Edited 2013-04-19 00:33:32 by PanAm_DC10]

User currently offlineN178UA From United Arab Emirates, joined Jan 2001, 1655 posts, RR: 66
Reply 3, posted (1 year 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 22312 times:
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The next day I have another early flight departs at 8am. The aircraft is B747-300, flying to Lahore and back. Flying the PIA Jumbo classic is on top of my Pakistan trip agenda! I have such a great flight on PIA B747-200 Combi, now it is time to fly the B747-300!

PK302
Karachi - Lahore
B747-367 AP-BFY
Flight time: 1 hour 17 minutes
POB: 462
Seat: 81A, upper deck


I have the thought that this flight may be quite empty but I was wrong, over 400 passengers boarded the plane one by one in good order. We have a total of 462 passengers in total! The PIA B747-300 has only one class of seating; economy. It mainly flies between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan specializing high density labour and Hajj flight. However, it also operates the peak hour domestic flights between the key cities.


A beautiful sight at the gate! The Queen is forever good looking!



Upper deck is not full; I have an empty seat next to me. I was in the first row with the bulkhead in front of me. Note the PTV is installed (inherited from Cathay Pacific). It is very quiet on the upper deck.



Lower deck nose area. Note the unusual large overhead bin fitted for more luggage space. No PTV on lower deck.



In-flight meal for this domestic sector.



Due to this sector is a training flight, the captain did not call me into the cockpit. I was slightly disappointed but I still enjoy the Jumbo ride. Lahore was sunny but foggy. Visibility can be an issue with the fog but thankfully today the visibility is above the minimum.


With only 1 hour 20 minutes after takeoff, we landed in Lahore with an excellent smooth touch down!
At the gate of Allama Iqbal International Airport. The distinct red castle like building of Lahore! Shaheen A330 and another PIA B747-300 already there before us. Both arrived from Saudi Arabia.



Usual arrival scene. Relatives flocked to receive their family home! Not many arrivals according to the board.



The view of the main terminal from landside.



After a quick turnaround, I went to re-check in and again was given an upper deck seat. I bought some Lahori Sweet at the airport to bring back home and for the crew.



PK303
Lahore - Karachi
B747-367 AP-BFY
Flight time: 1 hour 35 minutes
POB: 469!!
Seat: Jumpseat



My luck changed after boarding, I was called by the leading stewardess and given the green light to visit the cockpit and remain inside until deplane at Karachi! The captain apologized for the inconvenience citing last flight was a training sector. I was more than ecstatic and sharing my joy with all the cockpit crew

Little did I expect, we have almost another full load of passenger going back to Karachi. So I think the PIA strategy deploying their largest passenger airliner is well justified here to stay ahead of competition and market share.
It took more than half an hour to complete the boarding. As usual, the pilots were well looked after by the crew. We were treated to these gorgeous snacks while sitting and waiting.




Around 11am, we conducted push back and the 4 RB211-524C2 engines came to alive.



Spectacular takeoff view from Jumbo’s front office.



This is how roomy the cockpit of B747! It is in a very long rectangular shape.



Please see my YouTube video of the B747 flight.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ICzL...Lk2g&list=UUfYCRj25JJQ41JGPqiqXmJw

Here are the pictures of final approach into Karachi. Runway 25L.















The weather is beautiful that day in Karachi, without any haze and smog.




Straight after landing, I received good news from a phone call. My photography permit has been approved. I visited the PIA maintenance area and met with a few PIA officials that afternoon. The hospitality was incredible; I have one person carry my camera bag and 2 other as guides on the apron.

Here are some pictures from the PIA Maintenance area; PIA has one of the largest hangars in Asia.



This Tupolev 154 of Kazakhstan Air over run runway on takeoff so it remained in Karachi for over 10 years.




















Inside of Aero Asia Bac1-11


























After that I went to a young PIA mechanic (Zain)’s house. Zain is an avid Aviation Enthusiast. He has a great balcony that you can see all inbound aircraft from there. Of course the highlight is the PIA B747-300 inbound from Lahore in late afternoon!






TO BE CONTINUED


User currently offlineN178UA From United Arab Emirates, joined Jan 2001, 1655 posts, RR: 66
Reply 4, posted (1 year 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 22159 times:
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After a few hours of aviation fun, it is time to go back to the airport and leave the country.


PK213
Karachi - Dubai
B777-300/ER AP-BHV
Flight time: 2 hour 15 minutes
Seat: 1A then Jumpseat


I was not expect any jumpseat and VIP treatment on my last flight out of Pakistan, simply put, I have been extremely lucky and satisfied of my past 7 flights with PIA as an VIP and it is time to return as a normal passenger. However my luck just didn't stop there! Few minutes before boarding I received a phone call from my friend AN. He told me to turn left after boarding; the crew is expecting you and will take care of you! Just incredible message, the crew received me well at boarding and took me to Business Class seat 1A straight away. (Despite I have an economy boarding pass)


The return flight has been upgraded from the usual A310 to a B777-300/ER. Many passengers were connecting from Dhaka to Dubai through Karachi. I have noticed PIA currently use a B777 most of the time between Karachi and Dubai.


Business Plus section onboard B777-300/ER.



Dinner service



A really tasty buffet is offered. Include many Pakistani favourite dishes like Chicken Tikka, Grill fish and other saucy dishes.



My dinner was that good and tasty that I have 2 servings.



A sweet dessert (Rice vermicelli)




Little did I know PIA has an onboard bar! This is located at the very front of the aircraft. Since PIA is a total dry airline, I wonder how often they serve drink/food from this bar?







After my dinner, I advanced inside the cockpit ready for descend and landing into Dubai. This will be my first time landing into Dubai inside the cockpit. You can see everywhere is well lit.



Please be sure to watch my YouTube video of this awesome landing.

You can hear full ATC conversation in the video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEYlz...4eMo&list=UUfYCRj25JJQ41JGPqiqXmJw










Well that was my 3 days adventure to Pakistan hosted by PIA. I rode inside the cockpit a total of 7 out of 8 sectors! It was sheer incredible experience. Never thought things will turn out this well and never imagined I can sit inside the cockpit on so many flights in such a short time frame. PIA%u2019s hospitality is second to none. All of the cockpit and cabin crew made me feel like at home and treat me like their own family. I would like to sincerely thank my friend AN for his precision planning and his incredible support on my trip. Also I would like to thank PIA management for granting such rare insight into the airline operation. I hope one day I shall return to Pakistan for more adventure!


Pakistan itself is a hugely diverse country with many attractions ranging from the cities to the mountains to the deserts. I found the country always interesting. Contrary to all the negative news, the people are extremely kind and always will to go extra mile to help their guest. The country has relatively good infrastructure. I would love to travel there again and again; like I always say, you really have to go there to see it for yourself!






YouTube Video Section


From takeoff to landing inside the PIA A310 (Dubai to Karachi)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rEvP...t=UUfYCRj25JJQ41JGPqiqXmJw&index=7

PIA ATR-42 Scenic flight Islamabad to Gilgit from inside the cockpit

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21tBM...xHDc&list=UUfYCRj25JJQ41JGPqiqXmJw

PIA Cockpit video on various aircraft (B777-200, A310 and B747-300)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ICzL...t=UUfYCRj25JJQ41JGPqiqXmJw&index=4

PIA Boeing 777 landing into Dubai from the cockpit

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEYlz...4eMo&list=UUfYCRj25JJQ41JGPqiqXmJw





Thank you for reading my trip report. Comments and feedback are always welcome.


Sam Chui

Website: SamChuiPhotos.com
Facebook: SamChuiPhotos.com
YouTube: Sam Chui


User currently offlinejagflyer From Canada, joined Aug 2004, 3458 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (1 year 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 21606 times:

Most of the photos are not working.


Support the beer and soda can industry, recycle old airplanes!
User currently offlineIdeekay From Switzerland, joined Jun 2012, 200 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (1 year 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 21547 times:

Hello Sam,

I would really like to read your Trip Report but as jagflyer already told, we can't see most of the photos, try maybe a other uploading site.

Greets


User currently offlineCrimsonNL From Netherlands, joined Dec 2007, 1798 posts, RR: 42
Reply 7, posted (1 year 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 21155 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
CHAT OPERATOR

Hi Sam, all the pictures seem to work on my end. Thanks for this amazing report! I've had the pleasure to ride 2 PK 310s a few years ago, and have since been quite fond of the airline for the same reasons as you describe here. I loved the impressions of Pakistan, which looks to be a beautiful country!

Thanks for sharing and best regards,

Martijn



Fly DC-Jets!
User currently offlineglobalflyer From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 901 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (1 year 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 20967 times:

One word Sam... STUNNING! What a fantastic adventure! The ramp scene with all of the derelicts was so cool from the TU-154 to Aero Asia BAC 1-11. Once again you have outdone yourself!   Cheers, Will


Landing on every Continent almost on an annual basis!
User currently offlineN178UA From United Arab Emirates, joined Jan 2001, 1655 posts, RR: 66
Reply 9, posted (1 year 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 20754 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting jagflyer (Reply 5):
Most of the photos are not working.
Quoting Ideekay (Reply 6):
I would really like to read your Trip Report but as jagflyer already told, we can't see most of the photos, try maybe a other uploading site.

Sorry for the breakage. I think the server is overloaded with request. This happened during busy time. You may want to come back and check again in a few hours. Hopefully it will be working.

Sam


User currently offlineflightsimboy From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 1151 posts, RR: 5
Reply 10, posted (1 year 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 20320 times:
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Sam I cannot see a single pic, but I want to thank you in advance for this wonderful dedication to Pakistan and PIA!! Looking forward to seeing the pics once the server is not overloaded. I will post comments once I am able to see the report.

Thank you or as they say in Pakistan "Shukriya"  . Pronounced "Shook-ree-yah" for other a.netters  


User currently offlinemjabbasi From Pakistan, joined Nov 2007, 31 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (1 year 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 20140 times:

Hey Sam, its me Moin. You said you planned to come back here in April, what happened?

User currently offlinemjabbasi From Pakistan, joined Nov 2007, 31 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (1 year 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 19855 times:

The pics are working well on Mozilla. Try that.

User currently offlineB707MT From Australia, joined Apr 2013, 59 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (1 year 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 19623 times:

Everything working fine with Chrome. Sam, you and your exploits are the stuff of legend, mate. What you show us through your camera lens and with your words is just jaw-dropping. Thanks for sharing your adventures with us all.

User currently offline22886 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 403 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (1 year 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 19608 times:

Brilliant trip report Sam, love the photos as always. Love seeing PIA and its operations in Pakistan. I dispatch PIA flights from LHR almost on a daily basis, and have been on those 777s and A310s you flew on many times but never flown on them which is something I'd love to do some time. I recognise the captain on the KHI-ISB flight, and snacks and tea you get in the cockpit before the flight are brilliant.
Gilgit looks amazing, definitely worth taking the risk to go there and not being able to get back. Great insight into Pakistan as well as its a country you don't normally get to see much of.


User currently offlineBurj From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 900 posts, RR: 4
Reply 15, posted (1 year 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 19505 times:

Wow...what an epic adventure and trip report!

Thank you so much for for sharing! Some of those photos are just breath taking!


User currently offlinejagflyer From Canada, joined Aug 2004, 3458 posts, RR: 4
Reply 16, posted (1 year 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 19473 times:

Very nice report Sam! I especially like the photos of the check-in in the Dubai. It's very interesting to see how other regional groups travel and the types of stuff they take. Those jugs of water and burlap bags don't look very secure and I can see them being broken open once the baggage system/handlers get their hands on them. All of the airports I've seen all have people using regular soft or hard sided luggage and the occasional "balikbayan" (Filipino boxes used for sending gifts to family). The in-depth coverage of the PIA operation is very cool as well.


Support the beer and soda can industry, recycle old airplanes!
User currently offlineflightsimboy From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 1151 posts, RR: 5
Reply 17, posted (1 year 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 19463 times:
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Once again Sam great report!!

Quoting N178UA (Thread starter):
However the country has been labeled as one of the very dangerous country and often featured in the newspaper and TV negatively.

Yes it is unfortunate, however I have never really experienced any incident during my last few stays, maybe I was just fortunate. I do hope things get better with the new elections.

Quoting N178UA (Thread starter):
I have chosen to go in December when the weather is cool. Another friend of mine who is a PIA pilot has kindly introduced me to the Managing Director of PIA on email. Within a few days I have received a very positive reply from the MD and I was invited on this rare opportunity to fly to Pakistan by PIA and visit PIA facility. My pilot friend and I have then been engaged on daily planning of the trip, aiming to visit more cities and have more exposure in a very short time frame.
Quoting N178UA (Thread starter):
Finally we have decided to have the trip from December 8 to December 10; within 72 hours I will be flying to visit Karachi, Islamabad, Gilgit and Lahore. This will be a grand tour of Pakistan by PIA.

Glad you could go in December. It's the nicest weather! And nice of the MD of PIA to treat you as an honoured guest!

72 hours in Pakistan and so many flights. Wow, that is awesome!!

Quoting N178UA (Thread starter):
So we were treated to some delicious snacks during the waiting.
Quoting N178UA (Reply 3):
We were treated to these gorgeous snacks while sitting and waiting.

The cockpit crews really get looked after well with all those goodies!!

Quoting N178UA (Thread starter):
The cockpit at night, we are ready to taxi to runway 30R.
Quoting N178UA (Thread starter):
After a powerful climb out of Dubai, I was treated to views of Dubai Skyline on my left, follow by a left turn over Sharjah and the sea; we continue a 180 degree turn towards the East.

That would have been a right hand turn over Sharjah to continue a 180 degree turn towards the East.

Quoting N178UA (Thread starter):
The food consist of a buffet spread of Grill fish, chicken and vegetarian options. All very tasty.
Quoting N178UA (Reply 4):
A really tasty buffet is offered. Include many Pakistani favourite dishes like Chicken Tikka, Grill fish and other saucy dishes.

The PIA trolley service in Business Class is indeed very impressive!! And great selection of food too. Friendly crews to serve you your meals! I think next time I should really give PIA a try, but when they have some kind of Business Class promotion.

Quoting N178UA (Thread starter):
A souvenir photo, all passengers were disembarking from the rear stairs.

Strange they did not use the vacant airbridge just in front.

Quoting N178UA (Thread starter):
Huge baggage and crowd arrived from Madinah just in front of our flight.

Yes when those flights arrive it can get very crowded.

Quoting N178UA (Thread starter):
After landing, a PIA min-van to take me to the Sheraton Hotel.

I worked in the Sheraton Hotel building for a middle eastern airline!

Quoting N178UA (Thread starter):
Some scenes from the road outside of the hotel.

Not everybody travels that way lol

Quoting N178UA (Thread starter):
Some poster from PIA office.

It says as long as the sun, moon remain, the name of Bhutto will remain.

From R to L (Late Benazir Bhutto, Bilawal Bhutto (Son of Benazir and Asif Ali Zardari), Asif Ali Zardari, and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (Father of late Benazir Bhutto). In a nutshell the Bhutto dynasty!


Quoting N178UA (Thread starter):
Airborne out of Karachi. Urban Sprawl of Karachi below.

Absolutely gorgeous at night

Quoting N178UA (Thread starter):
Marriott Islamabad

The Marriott Hotel greeters at the door are really great. They also enjoy being photographed.

Quoting N178UA (Thread starter):
They do celebrate Christmas in Pakistan from this point of view!

Yes Christmas in celebrated in these hotels to accommodate Christian clientele and is also celebrated in Christian homes.

Quoting N178UA (Thread starter):
Some sort of curry chicken.

Chicken Karahi...the dish it is being served in is called a Karahi. The curry is reduced in consistency to a reduced tomato and green chili base.

Quoting N178UA (Thread starter):
Some street scenes, very few foreigner around so I did raise some attention but it was ok.

I don't think I can stomach street food, which is sad as some of the tastiest food is street food.

Quoting N178UA (Thread starter):
Night life at Islamabad, restaurant and ice cream store.

Were you not tempted to visit the Chinese restaurant to see what Pakistani Chinese food is like?

Quoting N178UA (Reply 2):
Here I am sitting in the cozy Economy Plus section before general boarding start.

Interesting to see the two forward facing seats.

Quoting N178UA (Reply 2):
Amazing scenery enroute heading to the Northern area.
Quoting N178UA (Reply 2):
View of Nanga Parbat (Naked Beauty), the second highest mountain in Pakistan. (9th highest in the world with height of 8126m) Some snows are blowing off the mountain top!

I have dreamed of doing this flight and now you have convinced me to really start thinking about doing it next time.

Quoting N178UA (Thread starter):
We were taken to Serena Hotel Gilgit (5 stars)

A really wonderful place to stay. The Serena Lodges and Hotels are of great repute in the Northern areas.

Quoting N178UA (Reply 2):
Tasty BBQ and Pakistani Chinese food!

Ah, so you did get to sample some Chinese food!!

Quoting N178UA (Reply 3):
After that I went to a young PIA mechanic (Zain)’s house. Zain is an avid Aviation Enthusiast. He has a great balcony that you can see all inbound aircraft from there. Of course the highlight is the PIA B747-300 inbound from Lahore in late afternoon!

Thanks to mjabbasi (Moin) I had the opportunity to spot at that very same place. He's a lucky guy to live so close to the runways!

[Edited 2013-04-15 16:26:37]

User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1881 posts, RR: 25
Reply 18, posted (1 year 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 19129 times:
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Great report and photos, Sam! I look forward to your reports, and your amazing world travels.

Thanks for sharing! I love the views from the A310 ; what great views from the flight deck.

Matthew (767747)


User currently offlinevivekman2006 From India, joined May 2006, 527 posts, RR: 3
Reply 19, posted (1 year 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 18781 times:

Great report with some stunning photos and videos. Well done Sam!  

Cheers,
Vivek


User currently offlineCarfield From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1833 posts, RR: 9
Reply 20, posted (1 year 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 18756 times:

Thanks for a wonderful trip report on a country that I possibly won't visit for a while.
PIA is definitely an interesting airline and the A310s look amazing.

I love the ATR-42-500 report and Gilgit airport is definitely interesting.

Thanks for sharing!
Carfield


User currently offline817Dreamliiner From Montserrat, joined Jul 2008, 2068 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (1 year 1 day ago) and read 18553 times:

Hi Sam

Amazing Report! Ive seen your pics in the database and was waiting for this! Very interesting place. It really sad that Pakistan gets so much negativity. Thanks for sharing your report  



Reality be Rent. Synapse, break! Vanishment, This World!
User currently offlineemrecan From Turkey, joined Feb 2000, 930 posts, RR: 7
Reply 22, posted (1 year 23 hours ago) and read 18345 times:

Hi Sam,

Just one word : GREAT !  


User currently offlinedebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2354 posts, RR: 4
Reply 23, posted (1 year 13 hours ago) and read 17378 times:

OUTSTANDING as always!

Quoting N178UA (Thread starter):
Scenes at check-in at Dubai Terminal 1. Another PIA flight leaving for Peshawar accounts for the cargo and people movement in my pictures.
Quoting N178UA (Thread starter):
Huge baggage and crowd arrived from Madinah just in front of our flight.

Seeing the amount of cargo and "luggage", I wonder how a safe operation is possible... Does PIA leave lots of freight behind?

Quoting N178UA (Thread starter):
The business class was completely empty, except 4 deadhead PIA pilot travelling on duty returning to Pakistan.

Strange to see a deadheading crew receiving full service, without anyone else (except the VIP) in BusinessClass. Is this just for the picture, for the VIP or a standard procedure for higher ranked crew members?

Quoting N178UA (Thread starter):
The aircraft is B747-300, flying to Lahore and back.

What happened to the B747 low-cost brand "PIA express"? Have these all Y B747 replaced this venture?
PIA Starts Low-cost Services (by Debonair Jan 18 2007 in Civil Aviation)

Quoting N178UA (Thread starter):
Here are some pictures from the PIA Maintenance area

What happened to the B737 frame "-CB"? Back in service already? Any idea?


User currently offline22886 From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 403 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (1 year 8 hours ago) and read 16980 times:

Sam, actually I spoke to that captain you had on the KHI-ISB flight, he said you had promised to send him the photos but he hasn't got them yet!

User currently offline777way From Pakistan, joined Dec 2005, 5716 posts, RR: 4
Reply 25, posted (1 year 7 hours ago) and read 16940 times:

Nice report and pics. The hills where you had your dinner was where the Air Blue A321 crashed, did you see the site enroute to the top?

Also AP-BHX the only jet left with a province tail now wears the flag.

Quoting debonair (Reply 23):
What happened to the B747 low-cost brand "PIA express"? Have these all Y B747 replaced this venture?
PIA Starts Low-cost Services (by Debonair Jan 18 2007 in Civil Aviation)

Lasted a year or less.

[Edited 2013-04-16 18:06:45]

User currently offlineN178UA From United Arab Emirates, joined Jan 2001, 1655 posts, RR: 66
Reply 26, posted (1 year 1 hour ago) and read 16620 times:
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Hi All

Thanks for all your comment. I won't be re-quoting from everyone, but I do appreciate all your inputs.

I forgot to add this Trip Report is dedicated to all my Pakistani friends and aviation enthusiasts who has a keen interest in Pakistan

Quoting mjabbasi (Reply 11):
Hey Sam, its me Moin. You said you planned to come back here in April, what happened?

I may have a sudden visit soon but just can't pin down to details at the moment.

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 17):
Quoting N178UA (Reply 2):
Tasty BBQ and Pakistani Chinese food!

Ah, so you did get to sample some Chinese food!!

Flightsimboy, I think you're the person who has motivated me to continue to write on and finish this TR, it has taken 3-4 months and my Iran TR came out a lot faster. You made a comment that made me continue to strive to finish this TR.
Fingers crossed, I would like this to also feature in major aviation magazines. Pakistan deserves some good news and good appreciation!

Quoting debonair (Reply 23):
Seeing the amount of cargo and "luggage", I wonder how a safe operation is possible... Does PIA leave lots of freight behind?

As my caption said, those boxes are heading to Africa. PIA use mainly widebody equipment on most Gulf/Pakistan flights (A310, B777, B747). So I think carry all pax + luggage shouldn't be an issue at all.

Quoting debonair (Reply 23):
Strange to see a deadheading crew receiving full service, without anyone else (except the VIP) in BusinessClass. Is this just for the picture, for the VIP or a standard procedure for higher ranked crew members?

I can't comment on other flight that I am not on. On my, there were 0 revenue pax. Deadhead pilots are authorized to travel in Business Class when seats are available.

Quoting 22886 (Reply 24):
Sam, actually I spoke to that captain you had on the KHI-ISB flight, he said you had promised to send him the photos but he hasn't got them yet!

Yep, I have emailed him the following week after my trip. May be the email was lost in cyberworld.

Quoting 777way (Reply 25):
The hills where you had your dinner was where the Air Blue A321 crashed, did you see the site enroute to the top?

I didn't go to the memorial. Believe the cause of crash is Pilot Error (pilot used to fly Boeing then transitioned to Airbus)


Sam


User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2472 posts, RR: 15
Reply 27, posted (1 year ago) and read 16539 times:

Hey Sam

Stunning report and pics of a part of the world we don't get to see too much from.

Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlinemoby147 From UK - England, joined Mar 2013, 46 posts, RR: 0
Reply 28, posted (12 months 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 15860 times:

Sam,

Another Brilliant report.

It is a joy to fly around the world with you

Regards

Moby147


User currently offlineQuokkas From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 29, posted (12 months 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 15479 times:

Hi Sam,

What an amazing report. Royalty treatment all the way. Stunning scenery. Access to areas others can only dream of. It is great that you were able to venture into the maintenance area.

Thanks again for bringing a report that is definitely "out of the mould".

Regards,

Roy / Quokka


User currently offlineflightsimboy From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 1151 posts, RR: 5
Reply 30, posted (12 months 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 15374 times:
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Quoting N178UA (Reply 26):
Flightsimboy, I think you're the person who has motivated me to continue to write on and finish this TR, it has taken 3-4 months and my Iran TR came out a lot faster. You made a comment that made me continue to strive to finish this TR.

Sam, I can't thank you enough!! I've admired all your reports and then when I knew you did this mega PIA and Pakistan tour, I just had to see it to completion here. I am glad my determination paid off  


User currently offlineSCQ83 From United States of America, joined Oct 2012, 666 posts, RR: 0
Reply 31, posted (12 months 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 15379 times:

Good pictures!. I am really surprised about PIA, they look much better than I would expect... even with PTVs in Economy.

User currently offlineplaniac787 From India, joined May 2012, 240 posts, RR: 0
Reply 32, posted (12 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 14945 times:

An extremely comprehensive and great trip report..

I really enjoyed reading this one..
PIA really did treat you right and it shows...

I hope they give there other normal guests similar treatment too :P

Cheers and thanks for writing

Pradat



Be the change you want to see in the world- M.K.Gandhi
User currently offlineEL-AL From Israel, joined Oct 2001, 1238 posts, RR: 5
Reply 33, posted (12 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 14831 times:

Thank you for another great report.

I was very interested in this inside view of Pakistan, very rare and interesting.

Some of those views you took were simply breathtaking. Amazing!

Thx for shearing, Jonathan



"In our country, those who do not believe in miracles are irrational" - David Ben Gurion.
User currently offlineTS-IOR From Tunisia, joined Oct 2001, 3410 posts, RR: 6
Reply 34, posted (12 months 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 13978 times:

Great report, fantastic hotel in Gilgit... and glad i have discovered the real Sam Chui  

User currently offlineVIDP From India, joined Feb 2010, 159 posts, RR: 0
Reply 35, posted (12 months 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 13591 times:

Lovely photographs. Gilgit is beautifull.

User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6402 posts, RR: 55
Reply 36, posted (11 months 3 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 11981 times:

Hi Sam !

Thanks for an amazing report with amazing pictures !

You were very lucky to be so well taken care of over in Pakistan!

Quoting N178UA (Thread starter):
Flight engineer busy climbing up and down to the baggage hold to sort the problem out. It was my first time seeing this Airbus feature, to go down to the cargo hold direct from the cockpit.

That's actually down to the avionics bay and that hatch can be found on most airliners. On the 777, it's right next to door one but the door is covered by the carpet in the cabin.

Quoting N178UA (Reply 2):
An interesting sign but can you really tell who the terrorist is?

Good point but also would have been better to also have the sign in Urdu so the local people can read.....

Very much looking forward to your next report!

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly...T5, CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlineSkyguy From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 477 posts, RR: 0
Reply 37, posted (11 months 3 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 11228 times:

Outstanding report! I sat back and spent the last hour sipping two cups of tea while I absorbed your TR, I felt like I was there with you. Also, the food looks delicious, can almost taste it in my mouth! Well done sir!


"Those who talk, do not know, and those who know, do not talk."
User currently offlinekurt From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 417 posts, RR: 0
Reply 38, posted (11 months 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 11116 times:

Excellent report! I am awestruck!

User currently offlineKHI747 From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 1614 posts, RR: 1
Reply 39, posted (11 months 2 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 10494 times:

Epic stuff ! Congratulations on this whirlwind trip around Pakistan.

I cant believe i almost missed this post though while skimming the list of TR's !

I really really wish you took a flight to KDU (Skardu) instead or in addition to Gilgit from ISB. Its a B737 flight and the views are out of this world. But because Skardu is further north and at a much higher altitude then Gilgit, in December its pretty much snow bound that maybe why your hosts scheduled Gilgit for you instead. As a place itself, the Skardu area is literally the single most stunning place i have seen anywhere in the world.

Glad you got a chance to experience the traditional Pakistani hospitality as well !


User currently offlineN178UA From United Arab Emirates, joined Jan 2001, 1655 posts, RR: 66
Reply 40, posted (11 months 2 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 10189 times:
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Thanks for all your kind comments and feedback.

Quoting KHI747 (Reply 39):
I really really wish you took a flight to KDU (Skardu) instead or in addition to Gilgit from ISB. Its a B737 flight and the views are out of this world. But because Skardu is further north and at a much higher altitude then Gilgit, in December its pretty much snow bound that maybe why your hosts scheduled Gilgit for you instead. As a place itself, the Skardu area is literally the single most stunning place i have seen anywhere in the world.

My host told me the B737 flies at higher altitude so the view is not as dramatic as the ATR which cruise at lower altitude with less mountain to clear. On our day of flying, the B737 flight to Skardu is cancelled. Having said that, I would absolutely love to fly to Skardu one day in the future!

Sam


User currently offlinenelsony From Australia, joined Jun 2011, 65 posts, RR: 0
Reply 41, posted (11 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 10063 times:

AMAZING Sam, just amazing.

Looking at the pictures of Gilgit, just makes me think about all places on earth and one human lifetime is not enough to see all these places! WOW

Its like a whirlwind lonely planet tour lol.


User currently offlinenelsony From Australia, joined Jun 2011, 65 posts, RR: 0
Reply 42, posted (11 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 10054 times:

Oh I forgot to mention, all the lovely people you met too! An and his friends and family, that was amazing.
And the food! the pictures made my mouth water. No wonder you had a second serve!


User currently offlinelalib From Pakistan, joined Feb 2010, 30 posts, RR: 0
Reply 43, posted (11 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 9283 times:

Hi Sam,

Great TR!

That was indeed top notch service from PIA.

As a Pakistani, I gotta say you've done us proud.


Best Wishes.


User currently offlineFlying Belgian From Belgium, joined Jun 2001, 2389 posts, RR: 9
Reply 44, posted (11 months 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 8843 times:
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Very nicely documented report Sam, as usual.

I love your reports dealing with such impromptus airlines/countries.

Keep it up !



Life is great at 41.000 feet...
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