Pan American World Airways

1901–1991 airline in the United States, former primary international carrier
(Redirected from Pan Am)

Pan American World Airways, or Pan Am, was once the largest airline of the USA. The crash of Pan Am Flight 103 and several other factors led to the airline to stop flying in 1991.[1]

Pan American World Airways
IATA ICAO Callsign
FoundedMarch 14, 1927 (as Pan American Airways [PAA])
Commenced operationsOctober 19, 1927
Ceased operationsDecember 4, 1991
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer programWorldPass
SubsidiariesSahsa (40%) (1945-1970)
Pan Am Express (1987–1991)
Panagra (50%) (1928-1967)
Fleet size226
Destinations86 countries on all six major continents at its peak in 1968
Company slogan"The System of the Flying Clippers" (1946–1953)
"World's Most Experienced Airline" (1953–early 1970s)
"Pan Am makes the going great" (late 1960s/early 1970s)
"Experience makes the difference" (early 1970s)
"America's airline to the world" (late 1970s)
"You can't beat the experience" (1980s)
"Die Flügel Berlins" (German for "Berlin's wings", 1980s, only in Germany)
"Every country has an airline. The World has Pan Am." (late 1980s)
"Expect More From Pan Am" (Some TV ads)
"Say Hello To Pan Am" (Pan Am-National merger)
Parent companyPan Am Corporation
HeadquartersNew York City
Miami, Florida
Key peopleJuan T. Trippe
(CEO, 1927–1968)
Harold E. Gray
(CEO, 1968–1969)
Najeeb E. Halaby Jr
(CEO, 1969–1971)
William T. Seawell
(CEO, 1971–1981)
C. Edward Acker
(CEO, 1981–1988)
Thomas G. Plaskett
(CEO, 1988–1991)
Russell L. Ray, Jr.
(CEO, 1991)
A Pan American Boeing 737
Martin 130 NC14716 "China Clipper" in California in 1936



Pan Am was founded in 1926.[2] Its first flights were from Key West, Florida to Havana, Cuba. During the 1920s and 1930s, Pan Am bought several smaller airlines in Central America and South America. These were bought to help Pan Am expand its flights throughout The Americas.[3] Pan Am became the first airline to circumnavigate the world in 1942. By the 1950s, Pan Am had several larger airplanes like the Boeing 377, Douglas DC-6 and the Lockheed Constellation.[4] It went to cities all across the world. In 1959, Pan Am bought its first jet - the Boeing 707. In 1970, Pan Am introduced its first widebody jet - the Boeing 747.[5]

A Boeing 314 Clipper

In 1980, Pan Am was combined with National Airlines. This was because Pan Am wanted to fly domestic flights and the government didn't allow it. When Pan Am bought National, it could finally fly domestically.[6] In the 1980s, Pan Am started having many financial problems, having paid too much to buy National Airlines.[7] Pan Am also spent too much money on the new Boeing 747s. The Gulf War of 1990 also caused many problems with Pan Am's transatlantic flights.[8] Pan Am declared bankruptcy in January 1991. Delta Air Lines bought small parts of Pan Am and tried to help it.[9] However, on December 4, 1991 Pan Am stopped flying due to the big financial problems.[10] United Airlines got many of Pan Am's old flights.[11] American Airlines got Pan Am's Miami hub.[12] Pan Am was resurrected twice in 1996 and 1998.[13]


  1. "Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) Fleet Details and History". Archived from the original on 2015-06-27. Retrieved 2015-03-08.
  2. Brady, Tim (2000). The American Aviation Experience: A History. SIU Press. p. 149. ISBN 978-0-8093-2371-5.
  3. "Glamorous Crossing: How Pan Am Airways Dominated International Travel in the 1930s". 10 February 2015.
  4. "Who Made America? - Innovators - Juan Trippe".
  6. "everythingPanAm".
  7. McCarthy, Kevin M. (2003). Aviation in Florida. Pineapple Press Inc. p. 17. ISBN 978-1-56164-281-6.
  8. Harris, Don (2011). Pan Am: A History of the Airline that Defined America. BookCaps Study Guides. p. 47. ISBN 978-1-61042-709-8.
  9. "How Delta Flew Circles Around Pan Am In Court". Bloomberg. 20 February 1995.
  10. "Pan American World Airways - JPB Transportation".
  11. Salpukas, Agis (23 April 1985). "Pan Am Plans Sale of Pacific Routes to United Airlines". The New York Times.
  12. "American Airlines Celebrates 25th Anniversary of Miami Hub". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-01-17.
  13. "Pan Am Today".

Other websites


  Media related to Pan American World Airways at Wikimedia Commons