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Pan Am Into The Soviet Union  
User currently offlinelevg79 From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 995 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 1 month 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 13215 times:

Hi all,

I know that back in the day the original PA used to fly to SVO from JFK on a regular passenger service with a B747. Since travel between the two countries was extremely limited during those years, such as Soviets not allowed to leave the Soviet Union except for certain Eastern bloc countries and Americans considering the USSR an evil empire, the question is who were the people that actually flew PA on that route and what were the loads. Since PA did not operate a hub in SVO I would assume that most of it had to be O&D traffic. I'm hoping that anyone with knowledge of this subject could share it.

Leo.


A mile of runway takes you to the world. A mile of highway takes you a mile.
31 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineeta unknown From Comoros, joined Jun 2001, 2089 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (3 years 1 month 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 13073 times:

Just because it was "an evil empire" didn't stop the more adventurous/educated American tourists from visiting.

User currently offlinejfk777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 8494 posts, RR: 6
Reply 2, posted (3 years 1 month 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 12792 times:
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The JFK to SVO route was Pan AM going where other dare not go. PA European routes were getting invaded by all the US airlines from their hubs. AA, DL, CO, NW and US were still just building up their European systems, Moscow was a long way off. It may have remained that way had the USSR not ended to exist and Russia becoming free. Today DElta is the only US airline flying there from JFK and ATL. AA tried Chicago to DMO but that lasted about 0ne year.

User currently offlineSulley From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 539 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (3 years 1 month 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 12736 times:

UA also serves DME from IAD, for what it's worth.


In thrust we trust!
User currently offlinerutankrd From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2003, 3038 posts, RR: 8
Reply 4, posted (3 years 1 month 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 12686 times:

Chipper 30/31 was an IATA pool flight with Aeroflot for many years.

Much diplomatic traffic and some business traffic oh and spies !

Back in the day Moscow SVO and Leningrad were just about the only regular entry points from the west !

Note Delta still use the 30/31 number for Moscow today !


User currently offlineSP90 From United States of America, joined May 2006, 388 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (3 years 1 month 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 12672 times:

Quoting levg79 (Thread starter):
who were the people that actually flew PA on that route

If I had to guess probably low level diplomatic types, business people and the more adventurous tourists. Curious to know if this was a one a day flight?


User currently offlinerutankrd From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2003, 3038 posts, RR: 8
Reply 6, posted (3 years 1 month 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 12653 times:

Quoting SP90 (Reply 5):
If I had to guess probably low level diplomatic types, business people and the more adventurous tourists. Curious to know if this was a one a day fligh

The route was daily shared with Aeroflot if memory serves.
Aeroflot via Shannon , Pan Am via Frankfurt


User currently offlinelevg79 From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 995 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (3 years 1 month 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 12640 times:

Quoting rutankrd (Reply 4):
Much diplomatic traffic and some business traffic oh and spies !

So how were the loads on those 747s then? Nowadays when Russia is accessible to Americans and wise versa we have one daily 767 (DL) and one daily 330 (SU) on this same route. So the capacity nearly doubled on this route now since the time it wasn't travelled that well. Was that route even profitable for PA or it wasn't a daily flight back then?



A mile of runway takes you to the world. A mile of highway takes you a mile.
User currently offlinerutankrd From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2003, 3038 posts, RR: 8
Reply 8, posted (3 years 1 month 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 12635 times:

By the way it was normally a B707 -321B Not 747-121 route

User currently offlinejfk777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 8494 posts, RR: 6
Reply 9, posted (3 years 1 month 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 12502 times:
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Quoting rutankrd (Reply 6):
The route was daily shared with Aeroflot if memory serves.
Aeroflot via Shannon , Pan Am via Frankfurt

When Pan AM re-started Moscow in the 1980's its was with a 727 from FRA then replaced by a 747 from JFK.

Quoting rutankrd (Reply 8):
By the way it was normally a B707 -321B Not 747-121 route

It was a 707 in the early 1970's, then Moscow was off the PA route map for years. When Gorbachev became Premier and the ice thinned a bit Pan AM returned via FRA.


User currently offlinerutankrd From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2003, 3038 posts, RR: 8
Reply 10, posted (3 years 1 month 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 12465 times:

Quoting jfk777 (Reply 9):
When Pan AM re-started Moscow in the 1980's its was with a 727 from FRA then replaced by a 747 from JFK.

Quoting rutankrd (Reply 8):
By the way it was normally a B707 -321B Not 747-121 route

It was a 707 in the early 1970's, then Moscow was off the PA route map for years. When Gorbachev became Premier and the ice thinned a bit Pan AM returned via FRA.


In later years i believe that is quite right *
! have to confess that during period of the early eighties my mind and spirit were elsewhere - Uni, booze clubbing and women ! rather than aeroplanes.

I also remember that for a period of time both the US and UK actually banned Aeroflot completely with the UK traffic having to route via Prague !

Interesting times


User currently offline747buff From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 744 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (3 years 1 month 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 12441 times:

Quoting levg79 (Reply 7):
Was that route even profitable for PA or it wasn't a daily flight back then?

I'm not sure if it was daily, but in the in the late 80s and early 90s, the 747 flew nonstop on certain days. On the other days it was a 747 to FRA, then a 727 to SVO. From what I have read, the 747 nonstop was always packed, since at the time it was the only USA-Russia nonstop. Aeroflot didn't have the equipment to fly nonstop, hence the stop at Shannon. I found a Time magazine article from 1989 that said the lowest fare was about $2000, so if that was true I'm pretty sure it was a moneymaker.

Quoting rutankrd (Reply 8):
By the way it was normally a B707 -321B Not 747-121 route

Yes, I believe someone on here said PA flew a 707 to Moscow in the 70s, maybe even in the 60s as well.
My earliest PA timetable is from 1979 and doesn't show any Moscow flights. However, service resumed in 1986 (and just as PA's luck would have it, Chernobyl happened a day or two before the inaugural flight). This was the aforementioned JFK-FRA-SVO 747/727 combo.

In mid 1988, Aeroflot and PA agreed to start a joint nonstop JFK-SVO flight with a PA 747 and cockpit crew. Cabin crew was from both carriers.



At Eastern, we earn our wings every day!
User currently offlineordjoe From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 743 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (3 years 1 month 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 12350 times:

It was exactly that, a cold war. We still had diplomatic relations and a good deal of trade (comparatively, the USSR was not a major exporter of much other than commodities). Relations between the countries, while not perfect, where not as tense as hollywood portrayed.

User currently offlinelonghauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 5155 posts, RR: 43
Reply 13, posted (3 years 1 month 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 12286 times:

Air Canada was the "other" North American airline with regular service into the USSR in the 1960s.

It too was pooled with Aeroflot. AC flew YYZ-YUL-CPH-SVO with a DC-8, while SU flew YUL-SNN-SVO with a TU-114 to start, then an IL-62.

The loads were abysmal. I remember joining my father who was a DC-8 Captain, on a layover in Moscow. There could have been no more than 10 people on the CPH-SVO leg. But ... as the Canadian flag carrier, the route was required.

Interestingly enough, we were to deadhead home on an SU IL-62 two days later, but the flight was subbed with a TU-114. I was the only one that was overjoyed! (And stole every safety card I could find!)



Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
User currently offlineN49WA From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (3 years 1 month 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 12262 times:

Quoting 747buff (Reply 11):
Cabin crew was from both carriers.

I wonder what what went through the minds of the Russian crews when working a Pan Am 747 flight. The atmosphere must have been unbelievably luxurious compared to Aeroflot at the time. Curious if there were any attempted defections, although that would probably have put an end to the PA flights. Maybe they had KGB "minders" on each flight to keep an eye on them? Or have I watched too many movies from that era?

[Edited 2011-11-12 16:54:36]

User currently offlinejfk777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 8494 posts, RR: 6
Reply 15, posted (3 years 1 month 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 12167 times:
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Quoting N49WA (Reply 14):
Maybe they had KGB "minders" on each flight to keep an eye on them? Or have I watched too many movies from that era?

Probably, KGB were probably on every flight the same way El AL has "Air Marshalls" for obvious reasons.


User currently offlinefalstaff From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 6162 posts, RR: 29
Reply 16, posted (3 years 1 month 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 11937 times:
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Quoting eta unknown (Reply 1):
Just because it was "an evil empire" didn't stop the more adventurous/educated American tourists from visiting.

A friend of mine went there on his honeymoon in 1970. He went there for some sort of piano music conference and since he got married right before the conference he turned it into a honeymoon. He isn't the political type, just a music lover.

I know he flew out of STL to JFK and then on to Moscow. I never asked him about the flight there before. Next time I see him I will ask.



My mug slaketh over on Falstaff N503
User currently offlinejmbweeboy From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 266 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (3 years 1 month 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 11856 times:

My mom flew a Pan Am 707 from JFK in the 1970's and recall so well her speaking of the up and down type landing for the last hour on final approach into SVO. Soviet air traffic controllers would taunt the Pan Am pilot by constantly having him decrease altitude on final approach then increasing it. And SVO air traffic controller would keep sending the plane down, then up, then down, etc. You get the picture. So bad that many pax were sick on arrival from all the up and down.

JMBWEEBOY


User currently offlineRIXrat From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 789 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (3 years 1 month 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 11683 times:

As an American journalist stationed both in Moscow and Leningrad between 1976-78, I have a few points I'd like to add. During these Soviet times, the PA flight from FRA to SVO had to pick up an SU navigator for this leg. The reason being is that once the flight crossed the border most radio coms were in Russian and this navigator would be the translator. In those days, you can't imagine how poor radio coms were.

The other reason was that the Soviets were paranoid that a foreign flight would get "lost" -- that being that it would deviate from the strictly set up approach corridor so the flight crew would not snap some unwanted photos. Once inside Soviet territory, pax were forbidden to take photographs of the terrain and on some flights, for unknown reasons, cabin crew demanded that the window shades be drawn.

When I lived in LED, the service out in addition to SU was SK to ARN and AY to HEL. Both station managers lived in the the same "diplomatic" apartment building so after a night of carousing it was easy to hit them of for a cheap ticked "out" for a weekend.

Loads were good most of the time, except in the dead of winter. At the time IBM had a pretty big presence in Moscow, there were 350 accredited journalists there and there were dozens of diplomatic missions, all of whose personnel wanted to go "out" on a foreign airline -- anything but SU. If I remember correctly, I think LH was also a player to FRA at the time.

And yes, there were plenty of spies. The SU cattle class usually carried home fishing crews from Canada, but that's another story.

[Edited 2011-11-12 20:45:35]

User currently offlineSulley From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 539 posts, RR: 4
Reply 19, posted (3 years 1 month 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 11664 times:

Quoting RIXrat (Reply 18):

As an American journalist stationed both in Moscow and Leningrad between 1976-78, I have a few points I'd like to add. During these Soviet times, the PA flight from FRA to SVO had to pick up an SU navigator for this leg. The reason being is that once the flight crossed the border most radio coms were in Russian and this navigator would be the translator. In those days, you can't imagine how poor radio coms were.

The other reason was that the Soviets were paranoid that a foreign flight would get "lost" -- that being that it would deviate from the strictly set up approach corridor so the flight crew would not snap some unwanted photos. Once inside Soviet territory, pax were forbidden to take photographs of the terrain and on some flights, for unknown reasons, cabin crew demanded that the window shades be drawn.

When I lived in LED, the service out in addition to SU was SK to ARN and OY to HEL. Both station managers lived in the the same "diplomatic" apartment building so after a night of carousing it was easy to hit them of for a cheap ticked "out" for a weekend.

Loads were good most of the time, except in the dead of winter. At the time IBM had a pretty big presence in Moscow, there were 350 accredited journalists there and there were dozens of diplomatic missions, all of whose personnel wanted to go "out" on a foreign airline -- anything but SU. If I remember correctly, I think LH was also a player to FRA at the time.

And yes, there were plenty of spies. The SU cattle class usually carried home fishing crews from Canada, but that's another story.

I know it's off topic, but what was it like living in the Soviet Union during the 70s?



In thrust we trust!
User currently offlineRIXrat From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 789 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (3 years 1 month 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 11615 times:

Sulley, It was pure hell. The KGB beat me up several times and kidnapped my wife for six hours once. Other than that, if you are a masochist, it was a reporter's paradise. I have no regrets, but like you said, I don't want to get off subject. Cheers.

[Edited 2011-11-12 20:55:44]

User currently offlineLO231 From Belgium, joined Sep 2004, 2392 posts, RR: 22
Reply 21, posted (3 years 1 month 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 11294 times:

Quoting eta unknown (Reply 1):

Just because it was "an evil empire" didn't stop the more adventurous/educated American tourists from visiting.

Educated American tourists????????? I hope you meant travellers.......

Quoting longhauler (Reply 13):

Air Canada was the "other" North American airline with regular service into the USSR in the 1960s.

I still wonder how AC managed to keep their office in the center of WAW without touching the runway of the airport till now, and being a Star Alliance....

Rgds



Got both LO 788 frames already, next LO E95 and 734 BRU-WAW-BRU
User currently offlineconnies4ever From Canada, joined Feb 2006, 4066 posts, RR: 13
Reply 22, posted (3 years 1 month 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 10978 times:

Quoting longhauler (Reply 13):
Air Canada was the "other" North American airline with regular service into the USSR in the 1960s.

It too was pooled with Aeroflot. AC flew YYZ-YUL-CPH-SVO with a DC-8, while SU flew YUL-SNN-SVO with a TU-114 to start, then an IL-62.

The loads were abysmal. I remember joining my father who was a DC-8 Captain, on a layover in Moscow. There could have been no more than 10 people on the CPH-SVO leg. But ... as the Canadian flag carrier, the route was required.

Interestingly enough, we were to deadhead home on an SU IL-62 two days later, but the flight was subbed with a TU-114. I was the only one that was overjoyed! (And stole every safety card I could find!)

There were safety cards on the Tu ??   Actually, though, how noisy was it ? I've read that submariners can actually detect the Bear ASW/recon version of the Tu-114 while submerged, merely from the noise.

I flew AC to SVO in 1972 and as I recall the CPH-SVO leg was quite empty, perhaps 20 pax. My week in the "workers paradise", courtesy Dad's AC pass. He thought I was nuts, but it was interesting. Went to Leningrad for a day and a half as well.



Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
User currently offlineLO231 From Belgium, joined Sep 2004, 2392 posts, RR: 22
Reply 23, posted (3 years 1 month 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 10937 times:

Quoting connies4ever (Reply 22):
I flew AC to SVO in 1972 and as I recall the CPH-SVO leg was quite empty, perhaps 20 pax. My week in the "workers paradise", courtesy Dad's AC pass. He thought I was nuts, but it was interesting. Went to Leningrad for a day and a half as well.

Please tell me AC is considering WAW, their office was there forever, they cannot depend on LO all the time, can they????

If you know something bout the plans for WAW, please let me know..... LO has lost a plane, leased one from VV, but still, the spotters in WAW ( I'm in contact with them ) would love to see AC metal once.....

Rgds



Got both LO 788 frames already, next LO E95 and 734 BRU-WAW-BRU
User currently offlinedennys From France, joined May 2001, 897 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (3 years 1 month 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 10605 times:

I remember a 707 service JFK FRA MOW , and a 747 NSTOP NYC SVO in 1988 .l

That seemed so huge capacity for such a route flown by almost only " diplomate people "


25 panamair : In the early '70s Pan Am flew a 707 from New York to Moscow via CPH. Moscow then disappeared from the network until the '80s again, with the FRA conne
26 thegoldenargosy : Didn't TWA briefly fly BRU-SVO on a 727 in the early 90's?
27 connies4ever : My gut is AC are quite OK with the code-share arrangement with LO. I wouldn't think yield on the WAW service would be all that great. If LO wish to c
28 antonovman : I worked as a gate agent for PanAm in the 1980's. I remember working the first flight from FRA to SVO. For some reason the airport authority would not
29 longhauler : I had scrounged up 5, (still have them) until the Stewardess' look told me that was enough. We were in the aft cabin, of three. I remember it being n
30 PanAm1971 : There used to be large tour groups that would go. The agency was Soviet Intourist if I remember. Leningrad was a big seasonal destination for Hermitag
31 Viscount724 : IATA had nothing to do with pool operations. Those were strictly negotiated between the airlines concerned.
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