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AerolineasAR343
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Why did Pan Am disappear?

Sun Jun 07, 2020 11:12 pm

The recent post about Pan Am's A310 got me thinking and maybe this was a better discussion with its own thread: why did Pan Am dissapeared? I'm not asking about the obvious stuff (mismanagement, lack of money, etc) but the brand itself. There was speculation that AA would file for bankrupcy again but very few are worried about not being an American Airlines anymore: why wasn't the case with Pan Am, which had such fame and high brand recognition? The same could be said for TWA or Eastern too.
 
MO11
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Re: Why did Pan Am dissapeared?

Sun Jun 07, 2020 11:24 pm

AerolineasAR343 wrote:
The recent post about Pan Am's A310 got me thinking and maybe this was a better discussion with its own thread: why did Pan Am dissapeared? I'm not asking about the obvious stuff (mismanagement, lack of money, etc) but the brand itself. There was speculation that AA would file for bankrupcy again but very few are worried about not being an American Airlines anymore: why wasn't the case with Pan Am, which had such fame and high brand recognition? The same could be said for TWA or Eastern too.


The Pan Am intellectual property was sold. A resurrected Pan Am flew for a while (with 727s), but eventually shut down. The parent owns railroads and continues to use the Pan Am name there:

http://www.panamrailways.com/

The third iteration of Eastern Airlines is still flying.
 
MIAFLLPBIFlyer
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Re: Why did Pan Am dissapeared?

Sun Jun 07, 2020 11:28 pm

I will keep this simple.
Eastern was the only collapse that really impacted travelers and took a while to back fill network wise by other carriers. Pan Am & TWA had been basket cases for years and year. In Pan Am's case having assets to sell at a time of restricted int'l air travel via bilaterals etc to raise funds kept the airline going longer than it should have. Pan Am's purchase of National in 1980 was a disaster. Pan Am and TWA were actually both in horrible financial shape in the early 1970's after the 747 came on line. The route swap and right-sizing of both airline in 1975 ushered in an era of more success for them, but long story short, both had high costs, fundamental network issues and probably were lucky to last as long as they did.

Eastern also always had financial issues but such an important part of air travel domestically especially along the east coast, its downsizing post 1986 and eventual collapse had more of an impact IMO.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Why did Pan Am dissapeared?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:00 am

EA was killed off by one man—Franco Lorenzo. It wasn’t downsized post-1986, the assets were stolen by his CO airline at a fraction of their value.
 
jetwet1
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Re: Why did Pan Am dissapeared?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:13 am

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
EA was killed off by one man—Franco Lorenzo.


Charles Bryan would like a word about that, both were to egotistical to back down.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Why did Pan Am dissapeared?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:42 am

jetwet1 wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
EA was killed off by one man—Franco Lorenzo.


Charles Bryan would like a word about that, both were to egotistical to back down.


I was on the MEC, I lived the story. Lorenzo wasn’t willing, in any sense, to negotiate, to offer a valid contract to any of the union groups. His plan, developed with fellow henchman Phil Bakes and Bruce Hicks playing to the press, was to force a strike at EA after stripping the assets to create a better CO, either win the strike through scab labor or liquidate the carcass. He didn’t count on the pilots walking our en mass. They refused to go back even when ALPA approved a return to work. Hicks, btw, was PA at Gulfstream Airlines.
 
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SEPilot
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Re: Why did Pan Am dissapeared?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:10 am

Pan Am failed primarily because it was built by political deals and favoritism by Juan Trippe. In the process he made many friends and enemies in high places. After he retired in 1968 his friends forgot about Pan Am but his enemies didn’t. That is why Pan Am never received a single break during the regulated era, while all other airlines did. Pan Am desperately needed domestic routes, which their chief rival, TWA, had, but they were not going to get them due to the political enmity that existed. That is what led to the disastrous National merger. And then, shortly after that regulation went away. Having been built on the basis of regulation (Juan Trippe had been one of its biggest supporters) Pan Am was probably the airline least able to transform itself to thrive under deregulation. The only surprising thing is that they lasted as long as they did.
Last edited by SEPilot on Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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OzarkD9S
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Re: Why did Pan Am dissapeared?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:11 am

jetwet1 wrote:

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
EA was killed off by one man—Franco Lorenzo.


Charles Bryan would like a word about that, both were to egotistical to back down.


Yes, Bryan was the last true militant union leader in the airline industry. I'm a pro-union guy but Bryan didn't really see the bigger picture IMHO. But Lorenzo was to blame as well, I remember when Lorenzo was trying to sell EA to Icahn's TWA. Lorezno wanted way more than EA was worth, and Icahn was offering next to nothing. Egos aside, that might have been the last chance for both TWA and EA to survive, at least until the 2000's consolidation. With a Chapter 11 filing in the 90's of course.
"True, I talk of dreams,
Which are the children of an idle brain." -Mercutio
 
Flyingsottsman
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Re: Why did Pan Am dissapeared?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:41 am

Why was Pan AM so desperate to have a domestic network within the US, was not their international network not enough for them? I remember they were ( just in my opinion ) along with British Airways the largest international carriers in the world at the time just about any airport in the world you would see a Pan Am tail in. So why was it so important for them to have a domestic network?
 
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Polot
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Re: Why did Pan Am dissapeared?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:50 am

Flyingsottsman wrote:
Why was Pan AM so desperate to have a domestic network within the US, was not their international network not enough for them? I remember they were ( just in my opinion ) along with British Airways the largest international carriers in the world at the time just about any airport in the world you would see a Pan Am tail in. So why was it so important for them to have a domestic network?

Because they wanted/needed a domestic network to feed that international network. Other primarily domestic carriers had long wanted to expand internationally, and Pan Am knew that was going to eventually happen. There is no way PA would have been able to compete without domestic traffic.
 
MUCaviation76
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Re: Why did Pan Am dissapeared?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:18 pm

The 747 was also a reason for Pan Ams demise. They got to many which they could not fill. By the time the competition already had -400s they were broke and still flying the fossil -100s.
 
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vhtje
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Re: Why did Pan Am dissapeared?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:18 pm

Flyingsottsman wrote:
Why was Pan AM so desperate to have a domestic network within the US, was not their international network not enough for them? I remember they were ( just in my opinion ) along with British Airways the largest international carriers in the world at the time just about any airport in the world you would see a Pan Am tail in. So why was it so important for them to have a domestic network?


Because the vast majority of Americans do not fly internationally; they fly domestically. For example, look at DFW:

https://www.dfwairport.com/cs/groups/webcontent/documents/webasset/p3_110805.pdf

In 2019, domestic traffic was around 88% of passengers; international traffic was a mere 12%. I use DFW because their statistics are easy to find. Arguably DFW does see more domestic traffic than other hubs, but it still illustrates my point. If you're only flying internationally, you are denying yourself revenue opportunities by ignoring the vast majority of American flying public.

Hindsight is always 20:20, but after deregulation, PA should have connected and partnered with a domestic carrier - DL or AA, who had little international networks at the time, but strong domestic ones. Hell, even EA - in fact EA might have been a good choice. I don't mean takeover, I mean partner as in the modern sense. Not that there was a lot of airlines coordinating and revenue sharing in those days, but it could have been a way forward for PA, so they would have to have been both visionary and pioneering. Which, for many years, PA was.

EK largely fills the 'connect-the-world-to-the-world' space PA (and then later BA in the 1990s) once did. I personally think EK will be in trouble in the next few years. We already know they made the wrong fleet choices, and prolonged suppressed international demand into the mid-2020s due to COVID-19, will hurt EK even more deeply. It will be interesting, in 2030, to compare and contrast PA with EK.
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Re: Why did Pan Am dissapeared?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:31 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
I was on the MEC, I lived the story. Lorenzo wasn’t willing, in any sense, to negotiate, to offer a valid contract to any of the union groups.


I don't think valid is the appropriate word. Contracts would have been valid. I believe you mean 'generous to the satisfaction of the various unions.' Then you balance possibly concessionary contracts against 100% job losses when the unions called that one wrong. Was the outcome life-cycle income optimal for many Eastern employees? I doubt it.
 
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Re: Why did Pan Am dissapeared?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:36 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
jetwet1 wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
EA was killed off by one man—Franco Lorenzo.


Charles Bryan would like a word about that, both were to egotistical to back down.


I was on the MEC, I lived the story. Lorenzo wasn’t willing, in any sense, to negotiate, to offer a valid contract to any of the union groups. His plan, developed with fellow henchman Phil Bakes and Bruce Hicks playing to the press, was to force a strike at EA after stripping the assets to create a better CO, either win the strike through scab labor or liquidate the carcass. He didn’t count on the pilots walking our en mass. They refused to go back even when ALPA approved a return to work. Hicks, btw, was PA at Gulfstream Airlines.



No question Lorenzo did not have any real interest in Eastern’s survival


But you ended up with him because you wouldn’t deal with Frank Borman, it may have been a tough choice but it was the wrong one by far
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


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Re: Why did Pan Am dissapeared?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:53 pm

Flyingsottsman wrote:
Why was Pan AM so desperate to have a domestic network within the US, was not their international network not enough for them? I remember they were ( just in my opinion ) along with British Airways the largest international carriers in the world at the time just about any airport in the world you would see a Pan Am tail in. So why was it so important for them to have a domestic network?


Problem was that before deregulation Airlines like Delta, United or American could not fly to Europe for example. So these airlines feeded Pan Am's International flights -- this is why Pan Am could live very well without domestic flights.
But after deregulation all of these Airlines very allowed to fly to places like the UK, Ireland, France, Germany etc by themselves. Now passengers from all over the US could fly to Europe on only one ticket with one airline -- which was not Pan Am. This left Pan Am as an O&D Airline, at least on the US side. Huge disadvantage for Pan Am.
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GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Why did Pan Am disappear?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:56 pm

Because Lorenzo had no interest in Eastern’s survival, the collective union decision was the right one. If there’s no future, it’s time to move on. Frank gave them no future and no concession to him and Bakes was going to produce a future.
 
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Polot
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Re: Why did Pan Am dissapeared?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 2:03 pm

vhtje wrote:
Hindsight is always 20:20, but after deregulation, PA should have connected and partnered with a domestic carrier - DL or AA, who had little international networks at the time, but strong domestic ones. Hell, even EA - in fact EA might have been a good choice. I don't mean takeover, I mean partner as in the modern sense. Not that there was a lot of airlines coordinating and revenue sharing in those days, but it could have been a way forward for PA, so they would have to have been both visionary and pioneering. Which, for many years, PA was.

The problem is there was no long term incentive for large domestic airlines such as AA/UA/DL/EA to partner with Pan Am. Why would they when increasingly liberal bilateral agreements allowed them to fly intercontinental themselves.

Pan Am also wasn’t in particularly great terms with many airlines. Their vicious defense of their international routes and (usually successful) attempts to block international expansion of other US airlines generated a lot of enemies who were all too happy to see Pan Am get taken down a peg.
 
EMB170
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Re: Why did Pan Am disappear?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 2:12 pm

Many have said that Juan Trippe was the reason for the downfall of Pan Am and their argument deserves our attention. Like many failed things (companies, even states), when the head of the company/state is that important, it sets the organization up to fail later on down the line. Juan Trippe *was* Pan Am. He grew to become EVERYTHING and groomed no real successor. Everyone else became nothing at all. So when Trippe retired in 1968, the company didn't have a real plan.

Some have also said that Trippe's "friends" in the government forgot about Pan Am but his enemies didn't. That's only half correct, if I remember my history. A more accurate statement might be, "Juan Trippe picked the wrong friends" - it was more a case of the friends in Congress he picked ulitmately wound up getting voted out of office and replaced with people who didn't see things the same way he did. Again, not planning for a future without him.

As far as why Pan Am would want a domestic network, as DLHAM just said above, prior to deregulation, domestic airlines such as DL, EA, AA, UA, AL (before they were US), and CO could not fly internationally. If you wanted to book an international trip, you flew from your home airport on one of these airlines to JFK (if you were going to Europe or Africa), LAX (if you were going to Asia or the South Pacific), or MIA (if you were going to Latin America) and then flew either PA, TW, NW, or BN the remainder of the way. Once deregulation happened, all of a sudden, now all of these other airlines (who had domestic networks in place) could feed their own international flights (over their own hubs) instead of feeding those of PA at JFK and LAX, for example. Now PA is at a disadvantage because they have to somehow come up with a reason to get passengers not living in the metro areas of their hubs onto their flights. They then bought NA in an attempt to rectify this, but it was the worst possible choice, (didn't even really add all that much), and they never really recovered.
IND ORD ATL MCO PIT EWR BUF CVG DEN RNO JFK DTW BOS BDL BWI IAD RDU CLT MYR CHS TPA CID MSP STL MSY DFW IAH AUS SLC LAS
 
ZazuPIT
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Re: Why did Pan Am disappear?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 2:41 pm

When I was a kid in the 70s my family flew from Nashville to Paris. To get there, we had to fly AA to LGA then take a bus to JFK. Then we flew PA. I suspect this was common as most smaller cities at the time didn't have nonstop service to JFK. At least TW had domestic feed, even if it meant a connecting flight to get to JFK. I'm sure that was the case at all of Pan Am's international gateways.
 
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Re: Why did Pan Am dissapeared?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 2:55 pm

Polot wrote:

Pan Am also wasn’t in particularly great terms with many airlines. Their vicious defense of their international routes and (usually successful) attempts to block international expansion of other US airlines generated a lot of enemies who were all too happy to see Pan Am get taken down a peg.


Interesting you should mention that. My Mom was a Reservations Agent for Ozark, having started in summer, 1967. She and her co-workers often got "attitude" from PA res agents when they needed to put together an international itinerary with Pan Am. At least in Mom's office, the OZ agents steered many passengers to TWA for Europe, Braniff for South America and Northwest for Asia. Much friendlier staff to deal with.
"True, I talk of dreams,
Which are the children of an idle brain." -Mercutio
 
MO11
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Re: Why did Pan Am disappear?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:43 pm

AerolineasAR343 wrote:
There was speculation that AA would file for bankrupcy again but very few are worried about not being an American Airlines anymore: why wasn't the case with Pan Am, which had such fame and high brand recognition? The same could be said for TWA or Eastern too.
,

After rereading this, I think the answer is more academic. In order to survive the bankruptcy process (and the period immediately thereafter) you need to enter bankruptcy with a boat load of cash. Eastern, Pan Am, and TWA didn't have that.
 
SpaceshipDC10
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Re: Why did Pan Am dissapeared?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:53 pm

Flyingsottsman wrote:
Why was Pan AM so desperate to have a domestic network within the US, was not their international network not enough for them? I remember they were ( just in my opinion ) along with British Airways the largest international carriers in the world at the time just about any airport in the world you would see a Pan Am tail in. So why was it so important for them to have a domestic network?


Besides the fact that not all Americans travel outside of the country or very far from it, Pan Am wanted to have it's own domestic network to feed its international flights, especially after deregulation that allowed any U.S. airlines to launch international flights. One of the craziest expension on that side was by Braniff with the success we know...
 
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Re: Why did Pan Am dissapeared?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:58 pm

MUCaviation76 wrote:
The 747 was also a reason for Pan Ams demise. They got to many which they could not fill. By the time the competition already had -400s they were broke and still flying the fossil -100s.


Well the 100's still worked for shorter routes. BA continued to fly theirs on shorter transatlantic routes till the 9/11 terror attacks and resulting drop in demand caused them to be retired. Where they didn't work so well was on longer routes.
 
Prost
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Re: Why did Pan Am disappear?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 5:03 pm

A lot of ‘how to survive a bankruptcy’ was learned from the likes of Pan Am/Eastern/TWA et al. Someone had to fail spectacularly so that other airlines could say ‘let’s not do that.’
 
enplaned
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Re: Why did Pan Am dissapeared?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 5:31 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
jetwet1 wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
EA was killed off by one man—Franco Lorenzo.


Charles Bryan would like a word about that, both were to egotistical to back down.


I was on the MEC, I lived the story. Lorenzo wasn’t willing, in any sense, to negotiate, to offer a valid contract to any of the union groups. His plan, developed with fellow henchman Phil Bakes and Bruce Hicks playing to the press, was to force a strike at EA after stripping the assets to create a better CO, either win the strike through scab labor or liquidate the carcass. He didn’t count on the pilots walking our en mass. They refused to go back even when ALPA approved a return to work. Hicks, btw, was PA at Gulfstream Airlines.


You're both wrong. Blame goes to the Reagan administration, which delayed the finding of an impasse in NMB negotiations until the 1988 election was finished, so that George Bush would not suffer any bad publicity. During 1988, Eastern lost a ton of money, meaning that when it finally did go into Ch 11, it was in extremely bad shape. No reasonable observer would claim that an outcome other than a strike was possible. The NMB should have gotten out of the way and let labor and management get into it while there was still something worth fighting over.

Dishonorable mention goes to the bankruptcy judge, Burton K. Lifland, who conceived an utterly idiotic public policy reason why Eastern had to return to flying. By then, Eastern had virtually no customer acceptance whatsoever, and its return to the sky was predictably a giant failure and frittered away that last value in the airline, ensuring creditors got even less when the dust settled.
 
enplaned
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Re: Why did Pan Am disappear?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 5:39 pm

EMB170 wrote:

As far as why Pan Am would want a domestic network, as DLHAM just said above, prior to deregulation, domestic airlines such as DL, EA, AA, UA, AL (before they were US), and CO could not fly internationally. If you wanted to book an international trip, you flew from your home airport on one of these airlines to JFK (if you were going to Europe or Africa), LAX (if you were going to Asia or the South Pacific), or MIA (if you were going to Latin America) and then flew either PA, TW, NW, or BN the remainder of the way. Once deregulation happened, all of a sudden, now all of these other airlines (who had domestic networks in place) could feed their own international flights (over their own hubs) instead of feeding those of PA at JFK and LAX, for example. Now PA is at a disadvantage because they have to somehow come up with a reason to get passengers not living in the metro areas of their hubs onto their flights. They then bought NA in an attempt to rectify this, but it was the worst possible choice, (didn't even really add all that much), and they never really recovered.


This is largely but not completely true - Continental had Air Mike, AA in the early 1970s had a South Pacific route network, etc.

Pan Am screwed up bigtime at the beginning of deregulation by paying an enormous amount for National to get that vaunted domestic feed (the beneficiary of this massive overpayment was Frank Lorenzo - this one transaction hamstrung Pan Am and fueled Lorenzo - a key even at the dawn of deregulation).

But even without that, Pan Am was going to have trouble - when Alfred Kahn talked to the White House about forthcoming deregulation, he highlighted two airlines that he thought were candidates to fail under deregulation - Pan Am and Eastern. He was right (I had this discussion with Fred Kahn in 1989 or 1990 or so as part of a research project into the Eastern bankruptcy). Pan Am was a creature of the regulated world - it was almost 100% international, quite artificial.
 
FlyingElvii
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Re: Why did Pan Am dissapeared?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 5:57 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
EA was killed off by one man—Franco Lorenzo. It wasn’t downsized post-1986, the assets were stolen by his CO airline at a fraction of their value.

Eastern had a ton of issues long before Lorenzo came along, all he did was pick off the wounded animal.

Borman and management decisions, strikes, never-ending labor issues and competition did Eastern in long before Lorenzo came along. He just took advantage of the situation they hd already put themselves into.
 
MIAFLLPBIFlyer
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Re: Why did Pan Am dissapeared?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:00 pm

jetwet1 wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
EA was killed off by one man—Franco Lorenzo.


Charles Bryan would like a word about that, both were to egotistical to back down.


While in theory true the idea that both are equally responsible is often floated and incorrect.

Bryan's biggest mistake probably was cutting Borman throat and accepting Lorenzo into the airline in the first place.

After that it was all Lorenzo IMO. The most incredibly sinister management an airline has ever seen.
 
MIAFLLPBIFlyer
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Re: Why did Pan Am disappear?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:04 pm

Should also mention a side note - Pan Am depended heavily on Allegheny for feed at JFK (this deal may have actually been codified, if it wasn't their still was a working understanding) and Eastern for feed at MIA. Once National was bought and Pan Am was competing with both airlines domestically (and competing with Eastern to Latin America also) it became even more difficult to fill 747's.

A combination with AA or EA would have solved a lot of the feed issues a lot cheaper than buying NA. The west coast remained an obstacle to feed the Pacific network (NW never got this right either really) but the JFK/MIA operations could have been salvaged properly with the right agreements with domestic carriers rather than overpaying for a niche one in NA.
 
MIAFLLPBIFlyer
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Re: Why did Pan Am disappear?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:06 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Because Lorenzo had no interest in Eastern’s survival, the collective union decision was the right one. If there’s no future, it’s time to move on. Frank gave them no future and no concession to him and Bakes was going to produce a future.


Absolutely right, plus the blatant asset stripping of EA by Lorenzo was demoralizing to the unions. That was a factor that isn't talked about enough in Bryan's strategy.
 
strfyr51
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Re: Why did Pan Am disappear?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:13 pm

AerolineasAR343 wrote:
The recent post about Pan Am's A310 got me thinking and maybe this was a better discussion with its own thread: why did Pan Am dissapeared? I'm not asking about the obvious stuff (mismanagement, lack of money, etc) but the brand itself. There was speculation that AA would file for bankrupcy hagain but very few are worried about not being an American Airlines anymore: why wasn't the case with Pan Am, which had such fame and high brand recognition? The same could be said for TWA or Eastern too.


Pan AM didn't have the Domestic network after deregulation to support their International network and would have had to eventually seek a merger Partner to provide Domestic feed to their International flights. They were not in any position to launch a takeover of any incumbent carrier. and with the $750M they got from United for their Pacific division? they sure didn't seem to Use it for anything that looked like building their operation So? they went Bust! Judging from the Airplanes that came to United with the Pacific Division Purchase? They were already on thin Ice.. so? selling the Pacific Division? Was a Stop Gap measure while swirling around the toilet bowl on the way down the Drain. It think Pan AM's days were already Numbered. And to a lesser extent? So were TWA's If 20-20 vision were possible? CO and TWA could have made a run for it. Pan AM and American could have made a lot of Hay as Northwest and Delta also did. Rich Ferris was brilliant in the respect of Buying Pan Am's Pacific Division but Dumb I Trying to Screw the United Employees with his Allegis Scheme. But? He didn't see what was going to happen to Canteen Corp. after they screwed TWA. He was big Hotel man, So what happened to the Intercontinental hotels, Westin Hotels, and the other properties United Bought during his tenure?
They still operate. But where is HE?
 
FlyingElvii
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Re: Why did Pan Am dissapeared?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:13 pm

SEPilot wrote:
Pan Am failed primarily because it was built by political deals and favoritism by Juan Trippe. In the process he made many friends and enemies in high places. After he retired in 1968 his friends forgot about Pan Am but his enemies didn’t. That is why Pan Am never received a single break during the regulated era, while all other airlines did. Pan Am desperately needed domestic routes, which their chief rival, TWA, had, but they were not going to get them due to the political enmity that existed. That is what led to the disastrous National merger. And then, shortly after that regulation went away. Having been built on the basis of regulation (Juan Trippe had been one of its biggest supporters) Pan Am was probably the airline least able to transform itself to thrive under deregulation. The only surprising thing is that they lasted as long as they did.

The "Juan Trippe" method, also known as the "Buy a couple of Senators Business Plan", kept PA in the money, until it didn't.
That started to end in the mid 70's, under Ford, but accelerated as dereg got closer, and PA's pet Senators passed/retired.

PA was as much a Fly-the-Flag operation and jobs program, as it was an airline. Both PA and TWA were crippled with decades old-employment agreements that new entrants didn't have to deal with, both international and domestic. A for instance would be TWA's employment req for it's Athens rights. They were required to maintain 400 employees in Greece, to maintain landing rights, some 800+ in London and Paris, etc.
 
PaxPicti
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Re: Why did Pan Am disappear?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:21 pm

Don't discount the Pan Am 103 bombing in 1989 as one of the big nails in the coffin. It eroded worldwide passenger confidence in the airline.
 
Worldair1
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Re: Why did Pan Am disappear?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:39 pm

this is a great book on the subject. Covers a lot of what is being discussed.

Hard Landing: The Epic Contest for Power and Profits That Plunged the Airlines into Chaos Paperback – December 24, 1996
by Thomas Petzinger Jr. (Author)
 
IWMBH
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Re: Why did Pan Am disappear?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 7:09 pm

I was wondering the same thing. But then I found the following video on Youtube:

https://youtu.be/ZucyCLraEIE
 
MIAFLLPBIFlyer
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Re: Why did Pan Am dissapeared?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 7:22 pm

FlyingElvii wrote:
SEPilot wrote:
Pan Am failed primarily because it was built by political deals and favoritism by Juan Trippe. In the process he made many friends and enemies in high places. After he retired in 1968 his friends forgot about Pan Am but his enemies didn’t. That is why Pan Am never received a single break during the regulated era, while all other airlines did. Pan Am desperately needed domestic routes, which their chief rival, TWA, had, but they were not going to get them due to the political enmity that existed. That is what led to the disastrous National merger. And then, shortly after that regulation went away. Having been built on the basis of regulation (Juan Trippe had been one of its biggest supporters) Pan Am was probably the airline least able to transform itself to thrive under deregulation. The only surprising thing is that they lasted as long as they did.

The "Juan Trippe" method, also known as the "Buy a couple of Senators Business Plan", kept PA in the money, until it didn't.
That started to end in the mid 70's, under Ford, but accelerated as dereg got closer, and PA's pet Senators passed/retired.

PA was as much a Fly-the-Flag operation and jobs program, as it was an airline. Both PA and TWA were crippled with decades old-employment agreements that new entrants didn't have to deal with, both international and domestic. A for instance would be TWA's employment req for it's Athens rights. They were required to maintain 400 employees in Greece, to maintain landing rights, some 800+ in London and Paris, etc.


I noticed this as a kid at Heathrow. I saw tons of Pan Am and TWA employees just standing around with little to nothing to do unlike what we would see at US airports. It was stunning to me. This helps explains what that was. Thanks.
 
Cointrin330
Posts: 1991
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Re: Why did Pan Am disappear?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 7:27 pm

Anyone have a link to 1980s timetables for Pan Am? Departed flights seems to have only the post-2000 reincarnation of Pan Am. I'd love to get refamiliarized with their TATL schedule from JFK from the 1986-1989 period.
 
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OzarkD9S
Posts: 5675
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Re: Why did Pan Am disappear?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 7:40 pm

Cointrin330 wrote:

Anyone have a link to 1980s timetables for Pan Am? Departed flights seems to have only the post-2000 reincarnation of Pan Am. I'd love to get refamiliarized with their TATL schedule from JFK from the 1986-1989 period.


Departed Flights has 4 for the 80's: 80/82/85/87

http://www.departedflights.com/timetables2.html

There is also a page for weekly PA JFK departures 1979-1991:

http://www.departedflights.com/PAJFKhub.html
"True, I talk of dreams,
Which are the children of an idle brain." -Mercutio
 
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deltacto
Posts: 473
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Re: Why did Pan Am disappear?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 7:43 pm

Cointrin330 wrote:
Anyone have a link to 1980s timetables for Pan Am? Departed flights seems to have only the post-2000 reincarnation of Pan Am. I'd love to get refamiliarized with their TATL schedule from JFK from the 1986-1989 period.


Departed Flights shows both the original Pan Am and Pan Am II

1985 timetable http://www.departedflights.com/PA102785intro.html

1987 timetable http://www.departedflights.com/PA020187intro.html

no timetable for 1989 ... but they do have the 1989 Intl OAG http://www.departedflights.com/89Iintro.html
 
Cointrin330
Posts: 1991
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2016 12:23 pm

Re: Why did Pan Am disappear?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 7:43 pm

OzarkD9S wrote:
Cointrin330 wrote:

Anyone have a link to 1980s timetables for Pan Am? Departed flights seems to have only the post-2000 reincarnation of Pan Am. I'd love to get refamiliarized with their TATL schedule from JFK from the 1986-1989 period.


Departed Flights has 4 for the 80's: 80/82/85/87

http://www.departedflights.com/timetables2.html

There is also a page for weekly PA JFK departures 1979-1991:

http://www.departedflights.com/PAJFKhub.html


Thank you! I just found those. Was looking in the wrong place. Thank you so much.
 
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OzarkD9S
Posts: 5675
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Re: Why did Pan Am disappear?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 8:03 pm

Cointrin330 wrote:

Thank you! I just found those. Was looking in the wrong place. Thank you so much.


You're quite welcome.
"True, I talk of dreams,
Which are the children of an idle brain." -Mercutio
 
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Phosphorus
Posts: 1002
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Re: Why did Pan Am disappear?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 8:18 pm

on Pan Am's demise specifically, it's hard to beat the book "Skygods: The Fall of Pan Am".
Author put a lot of research into it. In addition to basic ingredients to any corporate failure, like mismanagement and hubris ("ahh! Arrogance and stupidity, in a single package! Very efficient" -- Londo Mollari), there were objective difficulties in the position of Pan Am as "The chosen instrument" of US Govt.
Basically, it was a death of a thousand cuts, and just a few areas, where Pan Am was suffering:
- Pan Am was banned from flying US domestic, until after deregulation of 1978
- Pan Am spent a lot of time, money and blood of its crews, pioneering transoceanic and transcontinental flying. All of the IP they've built up in the process came into shared use / public domain, to be picked up by their competitors, "Domestics". Those same "Domestics", in the meantime, spent their money on crew training centers, CRM, simulators, other long-term, in-house goodies.
- Pan Am had no real political clout, once its champion, Juan Trippe, resigned from CEO position. As a result, any route decision (weaponized by politicians in 1960's) went against it. The basic idea was "US domestic market will be segmented into political domains": American's role will be lobbied by Texas politicians, Eastern and National were lobbied by Floridan ones, Georgia politicos were doing Delta's bidding; on the other hand, international is a free-for-all, a shared resource; the fact that Pan Am was already flying there was actually a nuisance; and no, New York politicians were not keen to do Pan Am's bidding
- closer to the end, Pan Am's unofficial "flag carrier" role began to hurt it real bad. Pan Am was a target to terror attacks for a long time, and for many, flying Pan Am was like putting a bulls-eye on themselves. Lockerbie was devastating

Of more self-harm, was the "urge to merge" of General Seawell, at that time CEO. It made sure they overpaid for National, and actually didn't get much of it -- as old National route structure was largely dismantled in the acquisition.
And on and on...
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Noshow
Posts: 1600
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Re: Why did Pan Am disappear?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 8:48 pm

They ordered SO MANY of those early Boeing 747s with teething troubles (engines) and had too much capacity when the oil crisis hit the industry and global demand hard. It was a long demise. I agree with the deregulation issues.
I sort of grew up with and onboard Pan Am in Berlin (traveling children would receive some "Junior Clipper Pilot" wings). Still remember their 727 interiors with Berlin sights as artful wall decoration. They were pretty elegant but that was back in the sixties when they even issued Rolex wristwatches to their pilots and management. In the 80s they were clearly on the way into financial trouble.
 
SteelChair
Posts: 1433
Joined: Fri Aug 25, 2017 11:37 am

Re: Why did Pan Am dissapeared?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 9:18 pm

FlyingElvii wrote:
SEPilot wrote:
Pan Am failed primarily because it was built by political deals and favoritism by Juan Trippe. In the process he made many friends and enemies in high places. After he retired in 1968 his friends forgot about Pan Am but his enemies didn’t. That is why Pan Am never received a single break during the regulated era, while all other airlines did. Pan Am desperately needed domestic routes, which their chief rival, TWA, had, but they were not going to get them due to the political enmity that existed. That is what led to the disastrous National merger. And then, shortly after that regulation went away. Having been built on the basis of regulation (Juan Trippe had been one of its biggest supporters) Pan Am was probably the airline least able to transform itself to thrive under deregulation. The only surprising thing is that they lasted as long as they did.

The "Juan Trippe" method, also known as the "Buy a couple of Senators Business Plan", kept PA in the money, until it didn't.
That started to end in the mid 70's, under Ford, but accelerated as dereg got closer, and PA's pet Senators passed/retired.

PA was as much a Fly-the-Flag operation and jobs program, as it was an airline. Both PA and TWA were crippled with decades old-employment agreements that new entrants didn't have to deal with, both international and domestic. A for instance would be TWA's employment req for it's Athens rights. They were required to maintain 400 employees in Greece, to maintain landing rights, some 800+ in London and Paris, etc.


There were many of those hidden requirements that other airlines inherited when they got some of the Pan Am assets. Rude awakening.

I agree that Pan Am was not a commercial organization, it was a political organization, and not particularly well run at that.
 
ltbewr
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Re: Why did Pan Am disappear?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:00 pm

Pan Am was a symbol of America was pretty much forced to operate, even at a loss, to certain countries so an American based airline served them as part of their regulation deals. Makes it a lot easier for spies, diplomats, businesspersons for them to use an USA based airline.They also had one of the exclusive, USA based airliner route to/from Berlin, likely operated at a loss until the fall of the wall in 1989. The increase of LLC's like Laker in the early 1980's, deregulation of airline fares in the EU, charter operators like Transameica all added to PanAm's woes. Then there was fancy HQ's (200 Park Ave - the Met Life building since 1992), a too small and clumsy terminal at JFK by the 1980's were also factors to consider in their demise.
 
superjeff
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Re: Why did Pan Am dissapeared?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:07 pm

vhtje wrote:
Flyingsottsman wrote:
Why was Pan AM so desperate to have a domestic network within the US, was not their international network not enough for them? I remember they were ( just in my opinion ) along with British Airways the largest international carriers in the world at the time just about any airport in the world you would see a Pan Am tail in. So why was it so important for them to have a domestic network?




Hindsight is always 20:20, but after deregulation, PA should have connected and partnered with a domestic carrier - DL or AA, who had little international networks at the time, but strong domestic ones. Hell, even EA - in fact EA might have been a good choice. I don't mean takeover, I mean partner as in the modern sense. Not that there was a lot of airlines coordinating and revenue sharing in those days, but it could have been a way forward for PA, so they would have to have been both visionary and pioneering. Which, for many years, PA was.

I would argue that Braniff would have been the best partner, back in 1980-ish. Braniff offered good feed into JFK and also several other airports from the Midwest, including LAX and SFO, and there were connections at the top (after Ed Acker got forced out at Braniff in a scandal involving campaign contributions to the Nixon campaign, he ultimately ended up at Pan Am), they flew similar airplanes (727's and 747's; although Braniff flew DC8-62's as well, they needed something for South America which Pan Am's 747's, DC10's (acquired via the National acquisition) and L1011's would have helped with. They even had pretty much the same unions (mainly the Teamsters).

Before deregulation, American and Pan Am cooperated to Hawaii to compete with United, and they interlined with pretty much everybody else over JFK to Europe. The current type of cooperation, via Alliances and Code Sharing, didn't exist as we know it today back then, but just about all airlines interlined with everybody else. You could fly, for example, DAL (Love Field back in the day, later DFW) to JFK on Braniff OR American, and connect to Pan Am to Europe just as easily as flying Braniff or American and connect to Aer Lingus, Air France, Alitalia, BOAC (British Airways), or anybody else. They actually tried to merge with Braniff II in about 1987 but it didn't pan out (no pun intended), and they also tried to merge with TWA at one point, but the government wouldn't approve it.

Personally, I miss Pan Am. There was nothing like them before, and there never will be anything like them again.
 
N649DL
Posts: 965
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Re: Why did Pan Am dissapeared?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:07 pm

MIAFLLPBIFlyer wrote:
I will keep this simple.
Eastern was the only collapse that really impacted travelers and took a while to back fill network wise by other carriers. Pan Am & TWA had been basket cases for years and year. In Pan Am's case having assets to sell at a time of restricted int'l air travel via bilaterals etc to raise funds kept the airline going longer than it should have. Pan Am's purchase of National in 1980 was a disaster. Pan Am and TWA were actually both in horrible financial shape in the early 1970's after the 747 came on line. The route swap and right-sizing of both airline in 1975 ushered in an era of more success for them, but long story short, both had high costs, fundamental network issues and probably were lucky to last as long as they did.

Eastern also always had financial issues but such an important part of air travel domestically especially along the east coast, its downsizing post 1986 and eventual collapse had more of an impact IMO.


TWA was actually doing OK in the late 1980s and was going through a bit of an International renaissance at JFK (and having a massive STL hub through acquiring Ozark in 1986.) Things didn't go south for them until Carl Icahn came along in the early 1990s.

IIRC, Pan Am might've been turning a corner in terms of profitability and getting it's costs in line in circa 1986-1987, but any forward progress was killed off by the Lockerbie crash. Delta invested heavily in Pan Am in the early 1990s and when they decided to pull the plug on PA's funding, they were completely done. Pan Am also did a complete overhaul of it's aging 747 fleet back then, so they weren't complete relics like they were by the time TWA flight 800 occurred in 1996. Pan Am almost merged with Northwest in 1989 and was looking to create a PA-NW-KL alliance (sort of in the same way DL-KL-AF in the late 2000s.) Had that happened, Pan Am's future would've been completely different during the 1990s.

It's still a bit surprising that the US Government let Pan Am die the way they did, but IIRC, Pan Am also made a lot of enemies over the years politically (could be a factor as of why.) Back then the US Government wasn't really in the business of bailing out the airlines either like they did after 9/11 or even during COVID-19.
 
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UA744
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Re: Why did Pan Am disappear?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:09 pm

I believe Pan Am's large purchase of 747-100s was one of their biggest long term mistakes for a variety of reasons:
1. The 747-121s Pan Am purchased were some of the first 747s produced anywhere, and were quickly superseded by the much more capable 747-200.
2. Many of Pan Am's 747-121s had side cargo doors installed which led to a significant weight increase that further degraded the 747-100s already reduced performance in comparison to the 747-200s flown by most of Pan Am's competitors. The SCDs were installed as part of a deal with the US government to use the planes as transports in a time of war in exchange for government aid in financing the aircraft (I am not 100% sure about what Pan Am got in return, this statement could be incorrect).
3. The oil crisis hit soon after deliveries of 747-100s started, this meant airlines had to fill more seats on all aircraft to offset increased fuel costs, but the 747 suffered the most seeing as it was the hardest to fill being the biggest aircraft.
4. Finally deregulation occured in 1978 and the increased competition made it even harder to fill the 747s which already had too much capacity for most of Pan Am's routes.
5. Because of the first two issues listed above, Pan Am's 747s had the lowest resale value of any 747 produced, and therefore were not able to be easily disposed in favor of more suitable aircraft. This led to continued losses.

I don't mean to bash the 747, it is personally my favorite aircraft (-400) and it was tremendously capable for it's time, but for Pan Am, it probably wasn't the right choice.
 
Kilopond
Posts: 560
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 10:08 am

Re: Why did Pan Am disappear?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:50 pm

[...]TWA[...]


Why on Earth would anyone have wanted to save the crappy Texas and Western renamed into Trans World Airlines?

Does anyone remember that ancient joke:

Passenger: Miss, could I please have another coffee?
Stewardess: I‘m sorry, right now I have no Tee-Doubleyou-A Coffee. All I can offer you is a Tee-Doubleyou-A-Tee/a.
 
MIAFLLPBIFlyer
Posts: 493
Joined: Mon Jul 03, 2017 8:25 pm

Re: Why did Pan Am disappear?

Mon Jun 08, 2020 11:20 pm

OzarkD9S wrote:
Cointrin330 wrote:

Anyone have a link to 1980s timetables for Pan Am? Departed flights seems to have only the post-2000 reincarnation of Pan Am. I'd love to get refamiliarized with their TATL schedule from JFK from the 1986-1989 period.


Departed Flights has 4 for the 80's: 80/82/85/87

http://www.departedflights.com/timetables2.html

There is also a page for weekly PA JFK departures 1979-1991:

http://www.departedflights.com/PAJFKhub.html


Also Departed Flights has a 1997 PA II timetable which was interesting because that airline actually grew out of the bankrupt assets of Eastern and flew a very EA-like route system outside of no Atlanta. They had merged with Carnival Air Lines which grown fairly large partly because Eastern's collapse left a void for flights to MIA/FLL to fill up Carnival Cruise Ships.

As a south Floridian I can tell you so much of our airline histories are related to Pan Am and Eastern one way or another, even today.

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