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About Pan Am

Mon Nov 10, 2003 3:52 pm

I have always wanted to know, if the main reason for why Pan Am went bankrupt was the Lockerbie bombing in 1988. I know a definite answer cannot be given to this question, but do statistics incline more to this or the contrary?

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RE: About Pan Am

Mon Nov 10, 2003 3:55 pm

The bombing was a big part of it, but simply they had grown too big and they couldnt fill their aircraft. They had too many 747's, A300's, and A310's which couldnt be filled.
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RE: About Pan Am

Mon Nov 10, 2003 3:57 pm

So how come it simply didnt downsize its fleet? I mean, dont many airlines with similar problems do this?
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RE: About Pan Am

Mon Nov 10, 2003 4:02 pm

It was also mismanagement. A good book would be SKYGODS. Best book I ever read...
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RE: About Pan Am

Mon Nov 10, 2003 4:27 pm

Pam Am was doomed from the day the deregulation of air routes took place in the United States.

In the regulated days, when airlines had to get permission from the US government to fly a route, Pan Am was the our primary flag carrier. They had first rights on just about all international routes from the US. The trade off for this was a lack of granting US domestic routes. They had little or no US domestic service.

In those days inter-airline connections were very common in the US. There really was no such thing as code share and alliances. Fares were pretty much by the mile, so each airline got a fair cut on an inter-airline ticket.

Things changed, deregulation happened.

Pan Am found itself with a lot of international service but very little US domestic feeder service for those flights. They tried to develop domestic service, but the competition was very stiff. Not only did they have to compete with the very established American, United, Eastern, Delta, Northwest, TWA... But there was now PedEx, and the regulated regionals of the day (they were called feeder airlines) were consolidating to form such airlines like US Air or growing in their own right.

Eventually, Pan Am just couldn't keep up. It never really developed a domestic customer base. At least not enough to keep up with its international routes.
Rex Kramer: Get that finger out of your ear! You don't know where that finger's been!

RE: About Pan Am

Mon Nov 10, 2003 4:27 pm

Let's put it this way: it's certainly no coincidence that DL posted enormous loses + began slashing routes right-and-left after acquiring what remained of PanAm's European route authorities.
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RE: About Pan Am

Mon Nov 10, 2003 5:05 pm

Pan Am had been sick for decades. I well remember a headline in "Time" magazine from 1970 stating "Pan Am in a Tailspin". It was only a matter of when, not if, they would eventually go under. Locekrbie was a major blow but they still survived for another three years before the final collapse.
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RE: About Pan Am

Mon Nov 10, 2003 5:55 pm

Let's not forget about the merger with National Airlines... That certainly contributed to their fate as they acquired them to have domestic routes before deregulation. Well, a little while after they did that deregulation happened and they would have been allowed to fly those highly desired domestic routes anyway, but now they were sitting on a bunch of DC-10s plus tons of 727s more.
On top of that I believe that the mix of L1011s and DC-10s was probably not a very good choice either but they had already ordered the TriStars so they took them...
Well, Lockerbie certainly didn't help and when they started selling off their actual strengths, the international network, first the Pacific, then LHR and then the rest, their fate was already sealed and over.
At the time when Lockerbie happened their image already wasn't the best and even though it was a bomb that blew up N739PA and Pan Am didn't do anything wrong, it did influence the public opinion about Pan Am in a very negative way, especially the media coverage after the disaster.
Since PA was still THE American flag carrier people maybe tried to avoid them because they were afraid of more bombs. Maybe they also had enough of the old planes and eventual bad service at the end due to the savings programs?
However, today you find tons of people stating what a great airline PA was, they mostly seem to remember the years prior to say, 1985.

Well, it is horrible what happened on 21st of December, 1988 and we will certainly never forget this.
This has probably been discussed and covered here, but do you guys think that the Libyan arrested are truly the guilty ones or could there be some other terrorist group to blame?

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