NateGreat
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What would Pan Am look like today?

Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:58 pm

Even though it has been over 25 years since Pan Am ceased operations, I have to wonder what they would look like today. Many people have said that if any airline flying today is the 21st Century equivalent to Pan Am, it would be Emirates. Now, what Pan Am has on their planes back in the day was years behind what Emirates has, in terms of contemporary aircraft and cabin furnishings/amenities. A big part of this has do with advances in technology over the years. Seeing that the US3 (AA, DL, UA) are nowhere near the quality of the fancy, luxurious international carriers like Emirates and Singapore, what would Pan Am look like today, in terms of aircraft in fleet, cabin amenities, hubs, and possibly being part of an airline alliance?
 
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william
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Re: What would Pan Am look like today?

Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:58 pm

I think you answered your own question.........Emirates.
 
UpNAWAy
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Re: What would Pan Am look like today?

Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:08 pm

It wouldn't exist.
An international only airline with no domestic feed accept O&D would have never lasted. Also no "luxury" airline of any large scale size has ever been financial viable.
 
NameOmitted
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Re: What would Pan Am look like today?

Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:09 pm

If Pan-Am was one of the surviving US carriers, they would look like the current surviving US carriers. That's the reason the current carriers survived.
 
zrs70
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Re: What would Pan Am look like today?

Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:11 pm

I'm a bit confused by the question as well as the theoretical answer.

The only way it would look like Emirates would be if it were heavily subsidized by the government. Otherwise, it would be on par with DL/AA/UA, right?

But the question is kind of like asking, "How old will I be in Heaven?" Are we talking about the Pan Am of the 1960's/ 70's/ 80's? Are we talking about an airline with a huge fleet of aircraft that can fly across the world, or an airline that focusses on flights to the Caribbean? Are we talking about an airline that develops hubs or one that focusses on point to point?

It's really too theoretical a question to even begin to answer!
18 year airliners.net vet! 2000-2017
 
BostonBeau
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Re: What would Pan Am look like today?

Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:50 pm

I live in a town that the Pan Am Railways main freight line passes through. I was wondering yesterday, while waiting for a train to pass, if the railroad inherited the "waiting list for the moon" along with the Pan Am name and blue meatball logo. I think Pan Am started mentioning the waiting list around the time the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey came out, featuring the Pan Am Space Clipper. :D
 
speedbird52
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Re: What would Pan Am look like today?

Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:10 am

UpNAWAy wrote:
It wouldn't exist.
An international only airline with no domestic feed accept O&D would have never lasted. Also no "luxury" airline of any large scale size has ever been financial viable.

Isn't that literally what Emirates is
"I have control" Three Words That Could Have Saved Lives.
 
Overthecascades
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Re: What would Pan Am look like today?

Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:11 am

It wouldn’t exist. Or just look like the US3.
 
AAvgeek744
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Re: What would Pan Am look like today?

Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:13 am

I've often thought what various defunct carriers would be like had merger mania not taken so many carriers away. I think the Pan Am globe and billboard titles would have looked good on basically every Boeing aircraft built since it's demise.
 
jph7291
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Re: What would Pan Am look like today?

Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:17 am

I will bite.

I think it is more helpful to look at what they tried to do, and also what they were unfortunately forced to do, to get a sense of where they would have liked to have wound up.

Pan Am tried to build up domestic feed into its hubs. It tried to acquire Northwest Airlines but was outbid. They began the BOS-LGA-DCA shuttle. Unfortunately it was all too little, too late. So, to say they were unaware of their issues would be unfairly false. Assuming the Delta transaction never happened, I assume Pan Am would have continued shopping itself elsewhere.

An interesting hypothetical is to consider a Pan Am that was able to limp along long enough to build up a stronger domestic presence at JFK and MIA which had clearly emerged as its two operational nexuses. Plenty of major airlines made it through the 90s and 00s with regionalized route structures such as this (e.g. HP and US as prominent examples), however the clear trend for successful US major airlines has, since this time, tended towards the fully comprehensive networks we see today. In 2017, there is no way we would see a healthy Pan Am operating with just JFK and MIA, no matter how strong domestically they had become. I think the PA-NW tie-up would have remained a natural target and would have allowed strong re-entry into the Pacific market. JFK, MIA, MSP, DTW, MEM, NRT +/- LAX/SEA would have made for a beautiful global airline.
712, 732, 735, 738, 752, 772, 319, M82, M88, M90, CR2, CR7, CR9, E45, E70, E75, AT7, DH4, DH8
ACK, ATL, BOS, BWI, CLE, CVG, DAY, DTW, EWR, HSV, HNL, IAH, MCO, ORD, PHL
AA, CO, DL, FL, G4, UA
 
cokepopper
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Re: What would Pan Am look like today?

Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:20 am

Would a better question be, what if AA won the bidding war over Delta?
 
polarexpress
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Re: What would Pan Am look like today?

Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:25 am

That looks a LOT like Delta today, with the swap of ATL for MIA!

[quote][/quote] by jph7291 » 05 Dec 2017 00:17

I think the PA-NW tie-up would have remained a natural target and would have allowed strong re-entry into the Pacific market. JFK, MIA, MSP, DTW, MEM, NRT +/- LAX/SEA would have made for a beautiful global airline.
 
VC10er
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Re: What would Pan Am look like today?

Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:24 am

Pan Am lives inside UA, DL and AA.
None of them have a livery or logo that comes close to that of PanAm. At least Delta got to keep the widget in some form- it’s why losing the tulip and the AA eagle is so painful to me.
Perhaps it could have been the best of the 3/4 US airlines- but it wouldn’t be a luxury carrier- I just don’t see a USA airline (other than something very niche) being a luxury airline from the USA. I’m a proud American, I wish we would or could but we are just to big to do “luxury” on an 800+ aircraft scale...no???
I prefer flying over the vacation itself! I go on business trips just so I can fly!
 
irelayer
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Re: What would Pan Am look like today?

Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:25 am

I think it's fun to speculate, as these threads come up every so often.

I think Pan Am would look exactly like the US3. Probably would have merged with TWA and gone back to using "Pan Am World Airways".

Probably would have had a 767/777 as the primary workhorse, flying from LAX and SFO to Asia, JFK to Western Europe, and MIA to South America. Domestically their planes would have 30" pitch, and they would fly A320 series aircraft connecting the coasts and perhaps STL and/or DEN.

In other words, pretty much like what UA, AA, and DL are today...

-IR
 
enzedder
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Re: What would Pan Am look like today?

Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:56 am

Today's Pan Am would not be anything like Emirates.
Emirates is great to connect the world via Dubai. Its smooth and easy.
Why would anyone transit via the US with all the hassle and bad treatment of immigration and all? Have done both and unless I want to spend some time in the US I would always prefer Dubai or some other asian stop on my way from NZ to Europe.
I agree with those that it would be just like any of the US3.

Cheers
 
flyguy89
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Re: What would Pan Am look like today?

Tue Dec 05, 2017 4:30 am

If PA had merged with a stronger domestic carrier than National, they might still be around. AA, DL, UA, NW or PI would all have been more formidable merger partners than NA. Pan Am in 1980 still had an enviable global network and syncing that up with a strong domestic network could very well have successfully carried the combined airline to present day. I doubt we'd see them sporting EK-style amenities however. Service-wise they'd probably be like one of the current US3.
 
eamondzhang
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Re: What would Pan Am look like today?

Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:39 am

speedbird52 wrote:
UpNAWAy wrote:
It wouldn't exist.
An international only airline with no domestic feed accept O&D would have never lasted. Also no "luxury" airline of any large scale size has ever been financial viable.

Isn't that literally what Emirates is

Emirates does rely on O&D from DXB and AUH/SHJ to some extent. Also they rely heavily on transfer pax, while I don't think any of PA's are large enough for transfer.

EK, and KU/EY/QR/KL/EI/SQ/CX to some extent, are international only airlines (I'm not counting Schengen) because their home countries/territories are so small, it made driving/bus/train more efficient to anywhere within the country/territory.

Michael
 
aviatorcraig
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Re: What would Pan Am look like today?

Tue Dec 05, 2017 7:15 am

They would be just as predicted in the film '2001 A Space Odyssey'...

Image

Image

:duck:
707 727 Caravelle Comet Concorde Dash-7 DC-9 DC-10 One-Eleven Trident Tristar Tu-134 VC-10 Viscount plus boring stuff!
 
aussieben
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Re: What would Pan Am look like today?

Tue Dec 05, 2017 7:49 am

It certainly is fun to speculate. In an alternate universe, if they had maintained their presence in the Pacific in the 1980's rather than selling the network to UA. Had flight 103 not happened etc. Then they may have gone from strength to strength and ended up as one of the US3 today. Let's suppose purely for fun that they merged or took over UA back in the late 1980s, then did the same thing to CO that UA did a few years ago. So you'd then have a US3 today of AA/DL/PA.

Let's wind the clock back a bit further. If they went on a spending spree in the early 80's after merging with National airlines and renewed their fleet with 757-200, 747-300, 767, 737-300. They then gain the market share to take over United and go on another fleet renewal in the late 80's and early 90's. I'm thinking 747-400, 767-300ER, 777, 737-400 and more 757s. At the time they were starting to show interest in Airbus products, so maybe go for the A320 to replace the narrowbody fleet. They then become the US founder of Star Alliance

At the turn of the century and in more recent years they embark on more fleet renewal, 737NG, 777-300ER and more recently A320 NEO family and 787/A350 or 747-8/A380.

Their main hubs would be MIA and JFK (world headquarters - Pan Am building in NYC still used for same purpose). Secondary hubs would be ORD, SFO and IAH as a respective nod to UA and CO.

Pan Am Express would be served by ATR or Q400 types and A318s or 717s as the regional jets.

Would they maintain an impressive around the world service they had in their heyday? I doubt it, but there's no reason they couldn't serve just as many destinations. South America and Africa mainly from Miami, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Micronesia and South Asia from SFO, North Asia, Europe and the Middle East from all hubs.

One more thing - they change their colour scheme ever so slightly: Keep the final 'Billboard' livery, but simply reverse the colours so they have white writing and globe logo on an all blue fuselage and tail. IMHO that would look amazing.
 
Flyingsottsman
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Re: What would Pan Am look like today?

Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:26 am

I really love these types of threads I recon there should be one on all the airlines that have flown into aviation history. I had no idea that PA wanted to merge with NW, would that have been the better merger than NA, how did NW avoid PA and stay on its own until DL got them ?
To answer the question (and are we talking about PA of the 70,s and 80,s or just before they closed down) If they didn't sell their Pacific network to UA I recon they would have been flying 744's into SYD, MEL, AKL, with Melbourne being a tag on the Sydney LAX flight, and later on I recon they would have done what most airlines have done today and got rid of their 744s and used 777s and I would assume they would have had the 787 ordered up as well. Where in the 80s they were like British Airways meaning what ever airport in the world you went to you would always see a BA or PA tail there, I think in todays aviation they would have joined an alliance I recon it would have been * Alliance, still would have a presence at Heathrow but about the same as UA, AA, DL, they would have a pretty good domestic network competing with the other US3 and possibly as mentioned maybe merged with either TWA, or even USAir or Continental. I would see JFK as their East Coast hub and LAX as their West Coast hub, but I don't think they would have the number of different aircraft types PA in 2017 would be I recon 777/787 737/maybe A320. That's my opinion of what I think PA of today would be like.
 
adambrau
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Re: What would Pan Am look like today?

Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:11 pm

After the acquisition of NA, known as Brig. Gen. William Seawell's "Folly" Pan Am was pretty much done. The Airline Deregulation Act was passed in 1978 and Pan Am entered into a bidding war with Frank Lorenzo which greatly inflated the price Pan Am ultimately paid for Natonal ($500 million) in late 1979. Compared to the $750 million realized from the sale of Pacific Routes to United in 1985. Pan Am limped along in the 1980's and actually returned to profit just before Lockerbie which was the final nail in the coffin. I think a different acquisition than National might have given PA the chance to continue (whether acquiring another better airline, merging with a stronger partner, or building it's own domestic network). The National merger ended up costing well over $1 Billion in Seawell's race to quickly erase the National brand and pay their workers at the same scale of PA. Twenty six years later the fact that we are still talking about PA indicates what a tragedy it's demise ultimately was. IMHO bad management decisions were the single biggest factor for the airline's demise, but there were certainly many others factors which doomed "America's Airline to the World". Given this scenario, it is too hypothetical what PA would like like today. It died December 4th 1991 and never came back.
 
727200
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Re: What would Pan Am look like today?

Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:24 pm

B-29


Numbrr 1, they would mot have survived in their prebious form, only carriers with strong domestic feed survived.

Number 2, if they had, just take a look at UA because ex-CEO Stephen Wolf took all of theur assests and assumed then into UA. The only one they did not get was the FRA hub and the PA shuttle out of there, which they wanted as well, but were not allowed to.

As for DL, it would not have looked like it because it took over NW, totaly different carrier and route system.
 
JUANTRIPPEJR
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Re: What would Pan Am look like today?

Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:04 pm

It would look like Delta with A320s, Dreamliners and B777-300ER.
 
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northstardc4m
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Re: What would Pan Am look like today?

Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:27 pm

Only way Pan Am survives is they never get into a bidding war for National with Lorenzo. They either get National at the original price they wanted or the drop it on him... I prefer the later option as it was the National bidding war and buy out that gave him cash to go after Continental, threaten TWA and finally leverage the takeover of Eastern.

Pan Am needs to merge with someone in the early 80s. There are options... but if you look at network feeding hubs, Allegheny and PSA fit very nicely.
(Only problem with this scenario is TWA now needs it's own partner and it slots in perfectly with Eastern.)

So now PAUSPS has a fleet of: 727-100/-200, 737-200, 747-100/-200/SP, L1011-500, BAC 1-11-200, BAe146(on order), MD81/82 and DC-9-30 aircraft.

That fleet is easily expanded in the mid to late 80s period. More 727s fill in the national domestic network. PA could then look at the 767 or A310 for medium haul. Then you can draw along any line you like for fleet... The only thing they need is a midwest/central hub of some kind...
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
 
Yflyer
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Re: What would Pan Am look like today?

Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:52 pm

I'm generally of the philosophy that if you were able to go back in time and change the details of history, the major events would still play out more or less the same. That is if you could build a time machine and went back and killed Hitler, that wouldn't do anything to change the social and economic situation in Germany in the 1930s. More than likely there still would have been another World War, possibly someone else would have become dictator of Germany, and there more than likely still would have been some sort of anti-Jewish movement.

So, applying that line of thinking to the OP's question, if Pan Am had survived, probably some other airline would have gone under, there would still have been the string of mergers we had in the past decade (just with different airlines), and we'd still end up with three remaining legacy airlines. Instead of American, Delta, and United, it would just be Pan Am, Delta, and United, or American, Pan Am, and United, etc. And the 21st century version of Pan Am would probably look a lot like the current day American or United in terms of service and fleet.
 
aussieben
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Re: What would Pan Am look like today?

Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:31 am

Yflyer wrote:
So, applying that line of thinking to the OP's question, if Pan Am had survived, probably some other airline would have gone under, there would still have been the string of mergers we had in the past decade (just with different airlines), and we'd still end up with three remaining legacy airlines. Instead of American, Delta, and United, it would just be Pan Am, Delta, and United, or American, Pan Am, and United, etc. And the 21st century version of Pan Am would probably look a lot like the current day American or United in terms of service and fleet.


:checkmark:

That's why in my alternate universe, post above - they end up taking over UA and CO. So the US3 becomes AA/DL/PA.

Back in the day, the true classical era of prop liners back in the 50's, there was really only a US2 - Pan Am and TWA. In it's modern form, TWA at least outlasted Pan Am. So I suppose Mr Hughes eventually trumped his rival Mr Trippe,

It's interesting to speculate if Pan Am would have offered a higher standard of service. I never had the chance to fly Pan Am, I remember back to the mid 80's my school friends (in Australia) had returned from overseas having flown Pan Am. Each one of them commented on how poor the service was, Mind you, probably by then Pan Am was already in decline, so it's probably not a fair judgement to make.

It's true they were an iconic brand and were pioneering - In the jet age they launched the 707, 747 and I think the 747SP - I'm not sure about that, so please correct me. Had they continued their pioneering ways, they could have been the launch customer of 747-400, 777 and 787. Or perhaps become the launch customer (and sole US customer) of the A380. That would have given them a point of difference with their other US rivals. Would it have ultimately given them a better overall service reputation to their rivals? That's so hard to say and purely speculative.
 
VC10er
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Re: What would Pan Am look like today?

Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:28 am

I once read that had Marilyn Monroe survived her fame probably would have dwindled and she would have been an occasional guest on Hollywood Squares! My point being that there is something about something you love being taken away, then frozen into an icon. James Dean, President Kennedy probably the same...who knows how their careers would have planned out?
We all love PanAm (and I love VARIG too), I wish they were here and vibrant.
Those brands were almost like people in that they had such personas. But PanAm is gone and will never truly be forgotten. PanAm will remain an important part of human history and we must appreciate her in that role.
The same way Andy Warhol gave us all a way to remember Marilyn.
I prefer flying over the vacation itself! I go on business trips just so I can fly!

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