Family, friends pay tribute to Pakistani pilot who steered first Emirates flight

Special Family, friends pay tribute to Pakistani pilot who steered first Emirates flight
In this undated photo, Capt. Fazal Ghani Mian is welcomed with a flower bouquet at the Beijing airport, China. (Photo courtesy: Capt. Fazal Ghani Mian family)
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Updated 03 November 2021

Family, friends pay tribute to Pakistani pilot who steered first Emirates flight

Family, friends pay tribute to Pakistani pilot who steered first Emirates flight
  • Capt. Fazal Mian was chief pilot of historic Emirates flight from Dubai to Karachi
  • Family and friends remember Capt. Fazal Mian as a patriot, true professional and dedicated family man

ISLAMABAD: Family and friends on Monday paid tribute to late Pakistani pilot Capt. Fazal Ghani Mian, the former chief pilot of Pakistan International Airlines who operated the first-ever Emirates flight from Dubai to Karachi 36 years ago.

Mian died last week in Islamabad following a month-long illness after contracting coronavirus disease (COVID-19). He was delegated by PIA in 1985 to set up Dubai’s flagship carrier Emirates, now the world’s largest international passenger airline. The first Emirates flight, EK600, took off from Dubai to Karachi on Oct. 25, 1985.

“My father was a patriotic Pakistani. He loved both Emirates and PIA till the last breath,” Mian’s daughter, Lubna Ghani Hayauddin, told Arab News. “He used to say that Emirates was a young and growing organization while PIA was a fatherly figure.”

Until his last day, Hayauddin said, her father dreamt that PIA would regain its former glory.  

“I was lucky to be his wife,” Touhida Ghani said, calling her husband a “kind man” who was equally committed to work and family.

“We married in 1962 and, initially, it was difficult to manage as he used to be away on flights for days, but later I got used to it,” she said. “He taught me the true meaning of life and used to guide me at every step.”

Talking about the Emirates project, Ghani noted that her husband had always been very proud of the airline’s success.

“He worked very hard all of his life,” she added. “Especially when he was working on the Emirates airline project, he used to work for hours and hours. Sometimes he was unable to visit us from Dubai even on weekends.”

A commensurate family man, however, Mian turned down the offer when Emirates gave him a lucrative job and stayed on with PIA, choosing to maintain Pakistan as his base, his wife added.

Capt. Kamal Al-Karimi, who worked with Mian in PIA for more than 35 years, said his colleague was a “true professional” who always put organization and country first.

“He was a dedicated Pakistani, a sincere friend, and he loved his work. Today’s pilots and professionals should follow in his footsteps to bring back the glorious time of the national carrier,” Al-Karimi added.

Mian’s son, Haider Ghani Mian, thanked the UAE Embassy for remembering the services of his father but said no official from Pakistan’s government had as yet visited the family for condolences.

“I am thankful to the UAE Embassy as they paid tribute to my father and always remembered his services for Emirates. They used to send him gifts every year,” he said.

“I wanted to be a pilot like him because I traveled a lot with him. He was my mentor,” he added. “He always gave very solid advice and informed me about the risks of being a pilot. I changed my mind after graduation, and he respected my decision.”

Mian’s other daughter, Farah Mohsin Hameed, also paid tribute to her father: “I am so proud of my father. We did not have to worry about anything. He used to plan everything for us but never imposed his decisions.”