FogCreekCEO
Topic Author
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Pan Am And Communist Airlines At JFK?

Tue Nov 23, 2004 10:44 am

In the 1970s and 1980s, why did all the airlines of communist countries fly out of the Pan Am terminal at JFK (as opposed to terminal 4 with all the other international airlines?)

And why was Pan Am the only American airline flying to communist countries?
 
WesternA318
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RE: Pan Am And Communist Airlines At JFK?

Tue Nov 23, 2004 1:57 pm

It was probably due to Pan Am's longstanding rule as the "Chosen Instrument" for the US government.
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PanAm747
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RE: Pan Am And Communist Airlines At JFK?

Tue Nov 23, 2004 2:27 pm

Before deregulation, there were really only two global U.S. airlines - Pan Am and TWA. Other airlines, such as Braniff and Eastern, had extensive and pioneering route networks in Central & South America and the Caribbean, but the blue globe and the double yellow globes were always considered THE international airlines. And their reputations were legendary...

In the eyes of the U.S. government (that did NOT provide a state-run national carrier such as Air Canada or Air France, etc), Pan Am and TWA were symbols of American influence all over the world. Much like the internet now, these airlines functioned to connect America to the world. So, when it came time to award routes to eastern Europe during the communist era, pictures of Uncle Sam on a Boeing or McDonnell Douglas jet itself could not have been more a symbol of American technology, progress, and bravada more than those airlines. They were our good-will ambassadors to the world. In return, when Eastern European airlines needed our assistance, who would they be most familiar with?

I miss these proud birds in our skies...now I'm getting verklemmt...talk amongst yourselves... Big grin
Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
 
AA B777-200
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RE: Pan Am And Communist Airlines At JFK?

Tue Nov 23, 2004 5:31 pm

I agree PanAm747, at one point PanAm was THE face of America.

Since I'm Dutch I sometimes have the same feeling with KLM. Whenever I'm at some remote place in the world where the bluebird picks me up, it is then that I already feel home!

Too bad TWA and PanAm left us oh so quickly!
 
hz747300
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RE: Pan Am And Communist Airlines At JFK?

Tue Nov 23, 2004 8:49 pm

PanAm and TWA were also the only American airlines that flew into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. With the addition of the 747-SP, and then the 747-300, Saudia would use the PanAm terminal as well. In the early years of Saudia (now Saudia Arabian), TWA did a lot of work for the Saudi airline via contracts before abruptly pulling out of the Kingdom. I remember it well, as my mom and dad were terminated before being hired by Saudia directly.

I agree, at the time, it seemed that TWA with its two globes, and PanAm with its one globe, were the face of the US abroad. I'm not quite sure I would call PanAm an instrument of the US government though.
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cedarjet
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RE: Pan Am And Communist Airlines At JFK?

Tue Nov 23, 2004 8:52 pm

Hz, that was actually the exact phrase used by Pan Am and it's friends in the US gov't: Pan Am was indeed the "chosen instrument".
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Clipper002
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RE: Pan Am And Communist Airlines At JFK?

Wed Nov 24, 2004 12:45 am

Having been there during that time frame, Pan Am's name was second only to Coca Cola in name recognition around the world. We were the ground handlers at JFK for LOT Polish, Aeroflot, CSA Czech Air, Tarom Romania as well as Saudia. These were all reciprocal agreements as these countries handled our flights also.

Ed
Ed
 
acvitale
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RE: Pan Am And Communist Airlines At JFK?

Wed Nov 24, 2004 12:52 am

Additionally at the time of the CAB we had domestic and international designations for airlines.

Pan Am was extremely limited in which domestic destinations it could serve and who it could carry (ie connecting to Intl only) whereas domestic carriers like Delta, United etc were only supposed to go domestically, Mexico, Canada.

Later domestic carriers were given Intl rights but Pan Am and TWA were delayed for domestic because they were "too big and strong"

ACVitale
 
Clipper002
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RE: Pan Am And Communist Airlines At JFK?

Wed Nov 24, 2004 1:46 am

Activate,
A little correction. TWA always had a rather large domestic schedule while Pan Am had none. Juan Tripp had alienated so many congressmen that they absolutely refused to award any domestic traffic to Pan Am. Following deregulation, Pan Am finally had the opportunity to run a domestic market and this led to the acquisition of National. The only domestic service prior to that were extensions of International flights that could not carry any passengers between the 2 domestic city pairs.

Ed
Ed
 
Tolosy
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RE: Pan Am And Communist Airlines At JFK?

Wed Nov 24, 2004 1:51 am

Since I'm Dutch I sometimes have the same feeling with KLM. Whenever I'm at some remote place in the world where the bluebird picks me up, it is then that I already feel home!

Well next time you will fly with KLM, you'll feel in France
 
bobnwa
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RE: Pan Am And Communist Airlines At JFK?

Wed Nov 24, 2004 2:03 am

PanAm747,

Didn't Northwest have a fairly sizeable operation to Asia before deregulation ?
 
Clipper002
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RE: Pan Am And Communist Airlines At JFK?

Wed Nov 24, 2004 5:31 am

Bobnwa,
Northwest still has a pretty big presence in SE Asia. Their original name was "Northwest Orient Airlines" and they were Pan Am's chief competitor. I was lucky enough to get one of their DC-7C's between ORD and IDL back in 1961. It originated at SIN and worked its' way back to New York. Had bunks and all for first class passengers.

Ed
Ed
 
bobnwa
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RE: Pan Am And Communist Airlines At JFK?

Wed Nov 24, 2004 6:23 am

Clipper002,

My question was asked tongue in cheek. I was trying to point out to PanAm747 that there were more than two global US airlines. Northwest was and is the largest US carrier to Asia.
 
Clipper002
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RE: Pan Am And Communist Airlines At JFK?

Wed Nov 24, 2004 7:14 am

Sorry about that. You're correct on both accounts. They used to have some really great service back then.

Ed
Ed
 
TWFirst
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RE: Pan Am And Communist Airlines At JFK?

Wed Nov 24, 2004 7:19 am

>>Their original name was "Northwest Orient Airlines"<<

Actually, their original name was "Northwest Airways".... then Northwest Airlines, then Northwest Orient, then back to Northwest Airlines.
An unexamined life isn't worth living.
 
PanAm747
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RE: Pan Am And Communist Airlines At JFK?

Wed Nov 24, 2004 7:36 am

I stand corrected - I should have included Northwest Orient's Pacific route network with Braniff and Eastern's Americas network (I knew there were others!!). Their Tokyo hub was a spoil of WW2, which they have continued quite successfully today.

I'd be curious to know the extent of Pan Am's East and Northeast Asia service at its peak - how did it compare to NW?
Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!