It was on this day in 1991 that Pan American World Airways (Pam Am) operated its last commercial flight, after 64 years of flying around the globe and setting new standards.
The airline started operating on the 19th of October 1927 as Pan American Airways and was commonly known as Pan Am. It was born out of the merger of three airlines after competing for and winning a US Postal Service contract between Key West (Florida, USA) Havana Cuba. Pan Am For a major part of the 20th century, it was the largest international airline of the United States. It was a trendsetter in the aviation industry, some Pan Am and facts;
First transatlantic jet passenger fligth
Pushing Boeing to develop the Boeing 747
First computerised reservations systems
The use of the call sign Clipper
The use of "Clipper" in its name used on their aircraft The blue globe as logo, aka "The Blue Meatball"
Founding member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA)
A name that is forever connected with Pan Am is that of Juan Trip, the airlines CEO from 1927 to 1968! Under his leadership the airline expanded with the purchase of flying boats (the Clippers) for the Central and South American routes. Gradually the airline expanded its network by adding transatlantic and transpacific routes. During the most successful period of its existence (the Late 50s to early '70s of the 20th century) it was well known for its modern fleet and highly trained and experienced staff/
An overview of Pan Am's fleet from the last half of its existence
In 1970 it had a route network covering all continents (except Antarctica) flying 11 million passengers to 86 countries. A short while after these "glory years" Pan Am was encountered more and more challenges. among others increasing fuel prices, industry deregulation and more and more competition.
By early 1991 Pan Am sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy, stating ever-rising fuel prices and the 1988 Lockerbie bombing (Pan Am Flight 103, operated by Boeing 747-121 N739PA, Clipper Maid of the Seas, exploded and broke up in mid-air over Lockerbie, Scotland after a bomb was placed on board, killing all 259 onboard and another 11 on the ground.)
On the 4th of December 1991, Pan Am ceased all its operations. The very last flight of Pan Am was a scheduled flight from Bridgetown Barbados to Miami, Florida. The flight was operated by Boeing 727-200 N368PA, named Clipper Goodwill. Many passengers were stranded around the world and around 9000 employees lost their jobs that day.
Boeing 727-200 N368PA, named Clipper Goodwill (© www.panam.org)
For more on the history of Pan Am click on the logo below;