PPJW, I think we may have found the explanation for why PA is trying this nonsense with the Jetstreams. When you have a bunch of businessmen running an airline, who have been taught to exploit every opportunity for profit that they can, you tend to get a management team that gets too greedy and strays too far from the airline's original business plan. I'll bet that the Jetstream operations look *great* on paper--low cost of operation, projected market on the routes named, etc.
However, I think Pan Am will soon find out that running these little turboprops on these short runs will provide a disconnect in terms of product quality (ie, being forced to transfer from a quiet, roomy 727 with food service to a noisy, cramped J-31 with no food), and in terms of operations. For example, how do they intend to service these J-31s when something goes wrong? There are many reasons why airlines have hub systems; having a central location at which aircraft can be serviced easily and quickly, minimizing cost. I would understand if the entire Jetstream operation was based out of *one* airport--say, Chicago or Orlando, where there are routes with definite potential. But spreading things out will, I believe, ultimately end up being a large mistake.
Pan Am should focus on building up routes from Orlando and St. Louis, where it has its greatest potential, using 727s. As airlines jettison more and more of their 727's, PA can pick them up on the cheap and convert them to Stage III craft with their signature winglets. These should be used on existing routes, as well as new routes to places like Trenton, St. Petersburg, and Rochester. Pan Am's focus should be strengthening their presence in the markets they already serve, increasing frequency of flights to these destinations, and getting as many flights a day as possible out of their current aircraft. Only then should they consider new destinations and new aircraft purchases.
But they should stick to their original business plan, down to the letter--one-type operations between secondary airports outside large cities, at low fares and upgraded service. Southwest has done this successfully for over 30 years, very rarely deviating from their plan (ie, the 727s in the early 80s). In contrast, PeoplExpress deviated significantly from their business plan, beginning to fly 747s across the Atlantic, purchasing carriers like Frontier, and overexpanding--and they died out rapidly as the situation spun out of control.
Hopefully, the people in control of the current iteration of Pan Am will learn from Burr's mistake with PeoplExpress, and Kelleher's success with Southwest; equally, I hope that the Jetstreams are removed from service quicker than a PSA L-1011. If not, it might be the undoing of an airline that has been rather successful so far.