Today on “Days to Remember” Pan American Airways commonly known as Pan Am, was the principal and largest international air carrier in the United States from 1927 until its collapse on December 4, 1991.
Founded in 1927 as a scheduled air mail and passenger service operating between Key West, Florida, and Havana, Cuba, the airline became a major company credited with many innovations that shaped the international airline industry, including the widespread use of jet aircraft, jumbo jets, and computerized reservation systems.
Pan Am commissioned IBM to build PANAMAC, a large computer that booked airline and hotel reservations, which was installed in 1964. It also held large amounts of information about cities, countries, airports, aircraft, hotels, and restaurants; it was the first of its kind to have this program built for their airways.
Pan Am was forced to declare bankruptcy on January 8, 1991. Delta Air Lines purchased the remaining profitable assets of Pan Am, including its remaining European routes and Frankfurt mini hub, the Shuttle operation, 45 jets, and the Pan Am Worldport at John F. Kennedy Airport, for $416 million.
Pan Am ceased operations on December 4, 1991 following a decision by Delta’s CEO, Ron Allen, and other senior executives not to go ahead with the final $25 million payment Pan Am was scheduled to receive the weekend after Thanksgiving.
As a result, some 7,500 Pan Am employees lost their jobs, thousands of whom had worked in the New York City area and were preparing to move to the Miami area to work at Pan Am’s new headquarters near Miami International Airport.
Pan Am was the third major airline to shut down in 1991, after Eastern Air Lines and Midway Airlines.
Today’s YouTube presentation brought to you by user name, (lgwguy) is a 1958 commerical of Pan Am American Airways introducing the 707 jet services as we celebrate how on December 4th 1991, Pan Am went out of service.
What happened to all the air planes, that had belong to Pan Am?
TWA’s Carl Icahn purchased Pan Am Express at a court ordered bankruptcy auction for $13 million, renaming it Trans World Express.
The Pan Am brand was sold to Charles Cobb, CEO of Cobb Partners and former United States Ambassador to the Republic of Iceland under President George H.W. Bush and Under Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce under President Reagan.
In his book, Pan Am: An Aviation Legend, Barnaby Conrad III contends that the collapse of the original Pan Am was a combination of corporate mismanagement, government indifference to protecting its prime international carrier, and flawed regulatory policy.
He cites an observation made by former Pan Am Vice President for External Affairs, Stanley Gewirtz has said after, “What could go wrong did. No one who followed Juan Trippe had the foresight to do something strongly positive … it was the most astonishing example of Murphy’s Law in extremis. The sale of Pan Am’s profitable parts was inevitable to the company’s destruction. There were not enough pieces to build on”.
As remember the nostalgic time of how Pan Am Airways was part of our historical airways, for 64 years, until its bankruptcy on December 4th 1991.
Written & Designed by JD Mitchell