Pan Am was a great Airline! I still remember the flights I had with them and still have some of their souvenirs.
I found a chronicle about Pan Am written in german though
, so I guess I'll have to translate it:
The airline was created by Juan Trippe in the year 1927. It had received an order of the American government for a regular air mail traffic between the Keys and Havana (Cuba). First pax flights took place starting from the year 1928 on the same distance.
First long distance routes starting from the year 1931 from Miami for Buenos Aires. The airplane, used for this purpose, was a Sikorsky S-40. Rapidly further distances followed. As the first airline PanAm offered transpacific-flights starting from 1935, with a Martin M130 from San Francisco to Manila (Philippine). The flight costed 600$/person (as much as a car those days) and took five days.
Starting from 1939 PanAm offered a route over the North Atlantic, from New York to Lisbon and continuing to Marseille. World war II breaking out shortly thereafter let the PanAm grow further, since she could take over orders for military transportation. In addition military pilots were trained.
After the war the PanAm was one of three airlines that flew over the Atlantic. Besides PanAm only Trans World Airlines and the American Overseas airlines offered these routes. Last one mentioned being taken over 1950 by PanAm. The lucrative market was divided for the advantage of the Pan American World Airways. The company was proud to have the first global flight route network.
In 1955 PanAm then landed the so-called jet-coup in that it ordered 20 Boeing 707 and 25 Douglas DC-8 of the "drawing board". On the 26 October 1958 PanAm introduced the new jet technology on its routes over the Atlantic. Machines of the types Boeing 707 flew the route from New York to Paris in only 8.5 hours flight time. The passenger volume then grew very quickly on this route and all other airlines were forced to do likewise and to also use jet airplanes.
PanAm grew further and so ordered 25 novel Boeing 747, the so-called jumbo jet, in 1967 as the first airline. A newer version, the type Boeing 747SP was used 1976, in addition to fly with only two stopovers around the world. Such a Round the world Trip lasted 46 hours and costed 1000$.
From 1980 on the company got into economic needs when it concluded, also to serve national routes. This was rejected of the US regulating authority, and one so PanAm bought the overselled Nationally Airline. In order to soften the financial problems, a large part of the real estate and the shares in other firms were sold. This also included the headquarters, 1964 built PanAm Building (design Walter Gropius) in the park Avenue in midtown manhattan, New York. The life insurance company MetLife bought the high-rise. Five years later the company management decided a further sale. 1985 the rights on the Pacific routes, including the airplanes used, were sold to United Airlines. The decisions proved to be a huge strategic mistake.
On 23 December 1984 Pan took one revolutionary step in that it used the two engine powered Airbus A300/A310 in a non-stop-transatlantic-flight from Hamburg to New York as the first airline. Based on only having two engines, Pan was forced to fly a detour along the coasts in the first years. Because there was no major incident and it proved the Airbus to be very dependable, PanAm later got the permission to fly the shorter direct route. With regard to its reliability, that was the breakthrough for Airbus in the intercontinental flight.
Yet it was not the economic reorientation that made PanAm bankrupt, but rather a bombing. On the 21 December 1988, terrorists burst a Boeing 747 in the skys above the Scottish Lockerbie. All 259 passengers died, eleven persons at the ground were killed when a wing filled with kerosene exploded on its impact in a residential area. However the misfortune as such did not lead to the economic end, but rather the fact that PanAm - previously a sort of American status symbol - was now looked at to be a possible goal for terrorists. The passengers didn't regard it as safe anymore and passenger numbers went back drastically.
In 1991 this traditional business stopped when Delta Air Lines bought the bankrupt comany - originally with the goal, to rehabilitate PanAm. Shortly before the acceptance, Delta had already bought the Transatlantic-routes with Frankfurt as a hub and a national american Shuttle-service for a billion U.S. dollar. At this time Delta expanded its weekly number of flights to Frankfurt/main from 21 to 83 and became therewith the second largest bidder of North Atlantic flights from Frankfurt.
The breakdown of the company shrunk to a small remainder and therefor resulted in its end, after Delta Air Lines left as a financier and partner. United Airlines then bought the Latin American routes together with the take off/landing rights in New York, Washington D.C. and Chicago for all together 135 million dollars.
PanAm was the first customer of airplane types such as Boeing 314 "Clipper", Boeing 377, Boeing 707, Boeing 747 and Boeing 747SP.
PanAm had Product Placement in numerous films with airplanes, personnel or advertising banners ( also like its competitor TWA, no longer existing today).
Wow, thats it [img]http://www.cheesebuerger.de/images/smilie/muede/c030.gif[/img] . I hope I could help you as it aslo was an interesting story for me.
edit: And why did it take me that long to notice Outlaw nz's great link? [img]http://www.cheesebuerger.de/images/smilie/boese/a050.gif[/img]