LGWflyer
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If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:48 pm

Okay so I was watching a Pan Am documentary the other night and I was wondering if they did not go bankrupt etc... where would they be today in the Airline Industry?

Like what aircraft would they have, all Boeing... or half Boeing, half Airbus?
Would they have ordered the 747-8 or A380?




I know this is only guess work, but it can't help to wonder though out of interest...
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jfk777
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Fri Nov 18, 2011 11:15 pm

Would that be a Pan AM that still flew ASia or the last incarnation which only flew to South America ?

IF PA was around it would have taken over AA or United to survive and have an ORD hub.
 
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hOMSaR
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 12:04 am

Too many other unknown factors to say.

If we are to assume that the industry would still be in the same condition it's in today, that means that in order for PA to have survived, you probably would not have had (pick one or more):

DL
NW
UA
CO
US
HP
AA
TW

(any other majors from the 90s/2000s that I'm forgetting?).

I figure the industry and market would have developed as they did, and having one large airline probably would have just bumped out another one. I guess TW was the weakest, financially, through the 1990s, so they probably would have gone under long before AA gobbled them up. Or maybe CO wouldn't have survived its bankruptcy.

Had UA and/or DL not picked up the route networks that they did from PA, then maybe either of those carriers would have been weakened enough to go under. Or maybe PA, being stronger (but needing domestic feed) would have taken one of them over.

The real important question is, if Pan Am (the airline, not the railroad that took their name) still existed today, what would their paint scheme look like?
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LatinPlane
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 3:27 am

At the time of Pan Am's closure in 1991, Delta conducted an internal study of Pan Am's financials that concluded that Pan Am 2 --the MIA based operation to Latin America-- was losing more money than originally expected. The route network in itself had tremendous potential, but the airline was still over-bloated with too many senior employees, plus a fleet of inefficient aircraft composed of 747s and 727s. Nevertheless, twenty-plus years later we know that the Latin American routes are amongst the best performers for most of the American air carriers. Many now think that AA's MIA Latin American gateway is the most profitable hub in the U.S. and the only profitable operation left of American Airlines. With those things in mind, one can only wonder that had Delta continued funding and patiently assisted Pan Am with a real reorganization plan based on the growth of the Latin American operation, the airline would stand a good chance of becoming a very viable operation.



http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/312281_10150309764203509_582303508_8176566_2143574465_n.jpg

[Edited 2011-11-18 19:29:44]

[Edited 2011-11-18 20:09:42]
Pan Am - The World's Most Experienced Airline.
 
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zippyjet
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 4:28 am

Quoting jfk777 (Reply 1):
Would that be a Pan AM that still flew ASia or the last incarnation which only flew to South America ?

IF PA was around it would have taken over AA or United to survive and have an ORD hub.

I'll go out on a limb and refer to the original Pan Am, the classic. The airline of Juan Trippe. With that in mind here are my thoughts in regard to this thread.
  • PAA would have acquired or merged with CO and TWA.
  • Would have continued to fly their generation 1 wide bodies into the early 2000's. (747-1, 2 series, L1011, DC-10/MD11 and Airbus A 300.
  • Would have eventually upgraded to the 767, 777, 787 and maybe a handful of 747-800 and A-380's.
  • There Round The World Service would encompass the 787 and or 380.
  • Going way out on a limb maybe even purchased a couple of Concordes; thus with more of them flying Airbus would still be producing the parts and warewithal to keep them going maybe another 10 years.
  • May have influenced Boeing to revive the Sonic Cruiser with the end game being Hypersonic Travel.
  • Gone up against Virgin Galactic for the budding rich man's race into outer space.
  • Hubs would be at least in the USA MIA (making a showplace out of the Central Terminal) to rival that of AA's World Port and Star Alliance Concourse J.
  • May have initiated or taken over the DCA-LGA-BOS shuttle for the snooty set that needs to fly at the drop of a Rolex.
  • Quadaffi and his ilk would have been illiminated much earlier.
  • Would have taken hits from 911 and the "W/Madeoff" recession/depression of 2008 but would have still survived and eventually thrived.
    [/List=1]

    Wishfull thinking and always fun to ponder what could have been.
I'm Zippyjet & I approve of this message!
 
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N62NA
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 4:46 am

I think PA would have gone Airbus. They had already dipped their toe in the water with A310s and when it came time to replace all their 727s (the original PA and National 727s) the A320 would have been perfect.

As for routes, well, I could see PA having merged with NW (pending anti-trust approval of course).

And PA would be a member of SkyTeam!
 
maxpower1954
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 5:41 am

For those of us of a certain generation, this what the Pan Am of the future will always be...Clipper Orion, soaring into earth orbit on it's way to the Space Station....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Afvw99m918I&feature=related
 
catiii
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 6:49 am

Quoting LatinPlane (Reply 3):
At the time of Pan Am's closure in 1991, Delta conducted an internal study of Pan Am's financials that concluded that Pan Am 2 --the MIA based operation to Latin America-- was losing more money than originally expected. The route network in itself had tremendous potential, but the airline was still over-bloated with too many senior employees, plus a fleet of inefficient aircraft composed of 747s and 727s. Nevertheless, twenty-plus years later we know that the Latin American routes are amongst the best performers for most of the American air carriers. Many now think that AA's MIA Latin American gateway is the most profitable hub in the U.S. and the only profitable operation left of American Airlines. With those things in mind, one can only wonder that had Delta continued funding and patiently assisted Pan Am with a real reorganization plan based on the growth of the Latin American operation, the airline would stand a good chance of becoming a very viable operation.

Can't help but agree with this. Taking PA into chapter 11 and restructuring its debt and contracts would likely have solved some of the problems. The X factor though is what impact the 1991/92/93 recession would have had on those efforts.

I'd also be interested to see the domestic markets AA serves out of MIA now that are timed to provide feed to the MIA hub for onward travel to Latin America and the Caribbean. Looking at the PA map, not sure if they could have made that work with the domestic markets they were serving out of MIA.

I always wondered why DL didn't just take the whole enchilada in 1991 instead of letting PA go under. They ended up spending all that time and money creating a Caribbean/Latin America network in the mid to late 90's under Mullin anyway. Could have saved them some time. Maybe Ron Allen didn't see the same potential?
 
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DeltaMD90
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 7:28 am

Well it's hard to say. There are several points were PA started to tank. What would they have looked like it they hadn't sold their Pacific routes? Before they sold the Atlantic? Not shutting down completely and operating their MIA hub?

To answer what I think you meant, had they not shut down at all, well, they'd be a strong Latin American carrier, I'm sure they would have made another hub somewhere, but they'd just be a relatively weak carrier with the PA name which would be a shadow of its original reputation. I wouldn't see them making it to 2011. Someone would have taken them over IMO
 
mikey72
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 7:32 am

I just wish they hadn't gone bust. Some airlines have got 'it' and some airlines don't. Pan Am had it !

All it would of taken is a few people on the board with some foresight able to navigate the airline through deregulation.

It wouldn't have been pretty (BA springs to mind)

For such an iconic brand to be left to slowly rot is a crime.

There - said my bit.

[Edited 2011-11-18 23:33:41]
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Ldriver
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 7:36 am

Quoting zippyjet (Reply 4):
There Round The World Service would encompass the 787 and or 380.



My guess is 'round-the-world is out nowadays because of all the point-to-point nonstops europe-asia, and also the auckward early AM schedule that was the case in some past RTW route cities, and or long stopovers often required for schedule adjustments. I took PA 'round the world segment during its last week in 1982 NRT-BKK. The return we were switched to Cathay because of the unexpected termination of the route, which stopped overnight at HKG. Today, my best guess at a viable RTW route would be NYC-LHR-Dubai-HKG-NRT-NYC.
 
BMI727
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 7:44 am

Quoting LGWflyer (Thread starter):
Where Would They Be? 

Bankruptcy.

Quoting LGWflyer (Thread starter):
Like what aircraft would they have, all Boeing... or half Boeing, half Airbus?

Whatever they would be, they would likely be poorly maintained with an antiquated product.

Truth is that by the 1980s and 1990s, the glamorous Pan Am that many remember was the glamorous Pan Am that people remembered, and not experienced. And even in their era or glory, the profitability of Pan Am was usually questionable at best. Even had Pan Am survived until now, it would at best be a shell of its former self.

Quoting DeltaMD90 (Reply 8):
To answer what I think you meant, had they not shut down at all, well, they'd be a strong Latin American carrier,

To be fair, Braniff was that towards the end, and it couldn't save them.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
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DeltaMD90
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 7:52 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 11):
Quoting DeltaMD90 (Reply 8):
To answer what I think you meant, had they not shut down at all, well, they'd be a strong Latin American carrier,

To be fair, Braniff was that towards the end, and it couldn't save them.

Yeah I just waved my magic wand and said they wouldn't fail, just as the OP asked   But there is no magic wand, hence where PA ended up!
 
lvhgel
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 12:53 pm

I worked inside the belly of the monster.

In perspective I say most definitively, PA today, would be in the exact position it is today.

Too proud to declare Chap. 11 in the 80's even before PA 103. It kept being a lumbering giant, without the speed or the resources,to adapt, only it's name and pride kept it going until nor the name or the pride had any real value.
 
taichen
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 12:58 pm

Quoting LatinPlane (Reply 3):
With those things in mind, one can only wonder that had Delta continued funding and patiently assisted Pan Am with a real reorganization plan based on the growth of the Latin American operation, the airline would stand a good chance of becoming a very viable operation.

Agree. I think Pan Am fate was sealed, but should they somehow survived I suppose they would have nevertheless merged with other carrier, such as DL or perhaps CO. I think one of the biggest mistakes PA made was to neglect its domestic market in the US and it was in a dire need of a strong domestic feeder across the USA.
 
flyby519
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 1:06 pm

The romantic side of me thinks Pan Am would be a world dominating carrier if they still existed today, smiting down carriers like EK who attempt to become global players.

The realistic side of me knows that they went BK for a reason and even if they existed today it would be some abomination of what they used to be.
 
CF-CPI
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 2:24 pm

In order to survive today, serious wage and benefit concessions would have had to be implemented. This is just a fact of airline life over the last 20 years.

Back around 1990, was Pan Am showing any glimmers of cost reductions that would have been necessary to ensure its survival?
 
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 2:43 pm

Pan Am was doomed from the day it bought that collosal fleet of original and quickly improved on B747-100. They never even got as far as ordering the series 200. Bob Crandall at American set out to destroy the old dinosaur by flying direct from ORD, DFW et al without needing to stop at JFK to change airlines. Pan Am were doomed as they were Juan Trippe and when he left, the worst excesses of American management were let loose. All chiefs, no Indians. Read "Sky Gods" if you can get a copy.
 
rwy04lga
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 2:49 pm

Quoting maxpower1954 (Reply 6):
For those of us of a certain generation, this what the Pan Am of the future will always be...Clipper Orion, soaring into earth orbit on it's way to the Space Station....

Horrible load factor on that flight.
Just accept that some days, you're the pigeon, and other days the statue
 
PanAm1971
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 3:35 pm

Pan Am had a great deal of potential to have made successful switch over in the late 1980's and early 1990's to a more efficient fleet and organization. A variety of factors came together to doom Pan Am at exactly the wrong time.
Pan Am also had a lot of passionate enemies-as you can tell from this thread. There are a lot of reasons for that-some justified... most not.

Anyway-Pan Am would probably have replaced all their 727's and 737's with A320's. I also believe they would have gone to the A330 for much of their transatlantic flights. They probably would have tried to push those old 747-100's till they could finance some 744's. Or perhaps they would have gone to the 777.

The core of "Pam Am"-think about the name-was their Latin American route system. That base could well have revived the fortunes of the airline. However, I think it would have become a smaller airline for a period of time. But their New York access was a diamond arrow in their quiver. They could have made a gradual return to greatness.

Frankly-they needed to be more determined about cost cutting. Sadly, I think there was a mentality within the airline -and the unions- that Uncle Sam would bail them out if everything came crashing down. They should have known better. Pan Am had made a rather large number of enemies in Washington on the right who wanted them gone.

On a personal note... every time I see a 747-800... I imagine what it would look like in the Pan Am livery. It was such a great airline... and I am really proud to have been a regular passenger. Great people. Just fantastic. It was what you think it was. The better side of American aviation.
 
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c172akula
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 3:43 pm

Quoting rwy04lga (Reply 18):
Horrible load factor on that flight.

Chartered exclusively for Dr. Floyd.  
 
mikey72
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 3:51 pm

Quoting PanAm1971 (Reply 19):
On a personal note... every time I see a 747-800... I imagine what it would look like in the Pan Am livery. It was such a great airline... and I am really proud to have been a regular passenger. Great people. Just fantastic. It was what you think it was. The better side of American aviation.

Well said.

UA, CO, DL etc...talk about standing on the shoulders of giants..Pan Am and TWA.

Oh well.

I used to ride up to Redondo from Santa Monica when I was a kid and watch the TWA tristars and Pan Am jumbo's roar out over the Pacific. Happy days !! Oh god, get me. Sorry.

[Edited 2011-11-19 08:02:10]
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PanAm1971
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 4:04 pm

BTW-while I was living overseas (Pakistan)-there was no greater feeling in the world than seeing a Pan Am 747 taxing out of the night darkness to get me at 1 or 2 in the morning. It always gave me a feeling that I could leave-escape-if things ever got bad. Huge psychological boost. Seeing that jet on the tarmac always gave me a feeling of security... almost like a flying embassy.
 
B737900
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 5:31 pm

Quoting PanAm1971 (Reply 22):
BTW-while I was living overseas (Pakistan)-there was no greater feeling in the world than seeing a Pan Am 747 taxing out of the night darkness to get me at 1 or 2 in the morning. It always gave me a feeling that I could leave-escape-if things ever got bad. Huge psychological boost. Seeing that jet on the tarmac always gave me a feeling of security... almost like a flying embassy.

Well said PanAm1971. My neighbor is a retired NWA Captain. He very well recalls checking in at overseas hotels with many airline employees milling around the lobby. He says (with a bit of jealousy!) that the Pan Am crews had a bit of an aura about them that spoke of years of pioneering routs. The thing that sticks in my mind is their opening of the Pacific and Latin American routs in the very early days. Read the accounts of the unscheduled RTW (westward) at the outbreak of World War II in the Pacific. Say what we might, Pan Am was a class act. I don't believe any airline compares with it today. Just my humble opinion folks!
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MaverickM11
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 5:50 pm

Quoting mikey72 (Reply 9):
Some airlines have got 'it' and some airlines don't. Pan Am had it !

Not in the last decade, unless "it" was infrequent service on ancient 747s connecting to a sparse domestic network with premium hard products that would be viewed as torture devices today. Just compare business class on any of today's carriers to PA and those rose colored glasses will clear up rul quick.

Quoting B737900 (Reply 23):
Say what we might, Pan Am was a class act. I don't believe any airline compares with it today

Today's airlines are much better--cheaper, more frequent service to more destinations, with better service in all classes, (maybe except Y but people were still ranting about Y service on PA at the time).
E pur si muove -Galileo
 
1stfl94
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 5:55 pm

Just finished watching the recent BBC documentary on Pan Am and have to agree, they were a properly class airline. But, it also seems that they were very set in their ways which I don't think would have let them the survive the decade we've just had of more terrorist attacks, recession and oil price hikes.
 
PanAm1971
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 6:13 pm

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 24):
Not in the last decade, unless "it" was infrequent service on ancient 747s connecting to a sparse domestic network with premium hard products that would be viewed as torture devices today. Just compare business class on any of today's carriers to PA and those rose colored glasses will clear up rul quick.

I flew all of the US majors at THAT time. With the possible exception of United-none of the US majors even came close at THAT time. If Pan Am survived-and adjusting for improvements in cabin service-would beat the pants off any of the US majors now. BTW-the food aboard Pan Am was MUCH better than any US major now.

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 24):
Today's airlines are much better--cheaper, more frequent service to more destinations, with better service in all classes, (maybe except Y but people were still ranting about Y service on PA at the time).

They are cheaper and more frequent now... and that is the main bennificial effect of deregulation. But better? I think that is debatable. Most of the traveling public seems to think air travel has lost a lot of quality over the years.
 
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 6:24 pm

Quoting N62NA (Reply 5):
I think PA would have gone Airbus. They had already dipped their toe in the water with A310s and when it came time to replace all their 727s (the original PA and National 727s) the A320 would have been perfect.

I'm almost positive the PA ordered A320s. I think most, if not all A320s that were destined for PA were taken up by HP.
kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out-USMC
 
PanAm1971
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 6:25 pm

Quoting catiii (Reply 7):
I always wondered why DL didn't just take the whole enchilada in 1991 instead of letting PA go under. They ended up spending all that time and money creating a Caribbean/Latin America network in the mid to late 90's under Mullin anyway. Could have saved them some time. Maybe Ron Allen didn't see the same potential?

IMHO two reasons, 1) If you take over someone else's dog with fleas-you might get some of them. 2) I think DL felt that there was nothing Pan Am did that they could not do as well or better without taking on all that bad debt and planning.

...I also suspect that there was some personal animosity at the management level. In the pre-deregulation world, Pan Am... more specifically... Juan Trippe... had made some serious enemies within the industry. Those bills came home to be paid... and they were.
 
PanAm1971
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 6:29 pm

Quoting sancho99504 (Reply 27):
I'm almost positive the PA ordered A320s. I think most, if not all A320s that were destined for PA were taken up by HP.

They did have a large order for A320's. It was probably the beginning of more orders with Airbus.
 
Sancho99504
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 6:56 pm

Quoting PanAm1971 (Reply 29):

I wonder, it may be a stretch, but is AA becoming the next PA? I mean, like PA, AA had a great run, became overburdened with debt, increased focus on MIA to latin america, huge A320 order, etc....Might we see the same deal from AA in 4-5 years time if they can't get on the right track through BK or thru competitive contracts with labor?
kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out-USMC
 
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flyingclrs727
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 6:59 pm

Quoting taichen (Reply 14):
Agree. I think Pan Am fate was sealed, but should they somehow survived I suppose they would have nevertheless merged with other carrier, such as DL or perhaps CO. I think one of the biggest mistakes PA made was to neglect its domestic market in the US and it was in a dire need of a strong domestic feeder across the USA.

Pan Am didn't neglect the domestic market. Prior to deregulation, they were forbidden from operating domestic fights except for flights to Hawaii. They operation some transcons, but they could only legally sell seats on those flights to passengers who were continuing on to international destinations. It was possible to stay a few days in the transfer city, but the tickets had to include a foreign destination beyond that city. Back in the 1940's and 50's Pan Am tried to get Congress to pass legislation making Pan Am the sole US international flag carrier the way many foreign international airlines were. Fortunately Congress never allowed Pan Am to do this, but they were extremely constrained in the domestic routes they could offer.
 
Italianflyer
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 7:07 pm

Quoting PanAm1971 (Reply 29):
They did have a large order for A320's. It was probably the beginning of more orders with Airbus.

IIRC PA and NW were the North American launch customers for the 320. The PA buses that obviously did not arrive on the property in time went to Braniff Mk II which in turn went to HP (and others I'm sure).

Speaking of hypotheticals, if Plaskett had been successful in merging PA with NW in 1989...I bet that there is a chance PA would have lasted longer. NW at the time was sitting on a ton of cash with little to no long term debt and may have given the PA name the financial legs to weather the early 90's recession. Of course, that takeover attempt is what put NWA in play and led to the Wilson/Checchi Wings holding group outbidding PA/Morgan/Citi for control of the Company. As for the merged airline surviving the post 9-11 downturn and the financial meltdown of 08 is anybodys guess.

[Edited 2011-11-19 11:09:52]

[Edited 2011-11-19 11:21:13]
 
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flyingclrs727
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 7:11 pm

Quoting CF-CPI (Reply 16):
In order to survive today, serious wage and benefit concessions would have had to be implemented. This is just a fact of airline life over the last 20 years.

Which is why they weren't an attractive takeover target. By 1990, they had an obsolete fleet that needed replacing. What did they have that was worth anything to a passenger airline?
 
PVDCMHOZ
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 7:48 pm

You also have to keep in mind how much smaller PA was relative to the other carriers at the time. The airline had very few domestic destinations and very, very few frequencies between their hubs and spokes. I think maybe they operated on the order of less than 200-300 flights per day at thier peak. Obviously their business model was based solely on international travel and the shuttle. Than NA merger was a boondoggle and PA quickly dismantled NA's premerger system. Pan Am needed a domestic merger partner that offered them a strategic route system with a strong focus on the east coast (I am assuming this is the PA post 86 Pacific sale to UA). Piedmont comes to mind. I also believe that much like the US HP merger, another airline like PI would have purchases PA and retained the PA name. I do not believe that PA could have been viable without a merger.
 
MaverickM11
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 8:17 pm

Quoting PanAm1971 (Reply 26):
They are cheaper and more frequent now... and that is the main bennificial effect of deregulation. But better? I think that is debatable

I just don't see where there's any comparison. If you look at a 1987 JFK timetable, PA's hub, you could fly 3x daily to LHR, 2x daily to FRA and LAX, 1x daily to SFO, once a week to MUC, twice a week to NBO via three stops, etc etc, on sky high fares, in Y which was probably halfway decent, or Clipper class, which wouldn't even pass for Y+ these days, or First, which would be akin to a rundown DL 767 vintage J seat.

Quoting PanAm1971 (Reply 26):
Most of the traveling public seems to think air travel has lost a lot of quality over the years.

That's the only thing constant in this industry--they've noticed a decline in quality since the wheel was invented. But given a choice between a $394 (1987 "maxsaver" fare, in 2011 dollars) NYCLAX roundtrip 2x/day on a PA 747 or dozens of departures on VX/B6/UA/CO/AA for $299 all in, I bet every last one of them will forget about "quality". People have voted loud and clear with their wallets, and it's not a vote for "quality".
E pur si muove -Galileo
 
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 9:22 pm

Quoting N62NA (Reply 5):
I think PA would have gone Airbus. They had already dipped their toe in the water with A310s and when it came time to replace all their 727s (the original PA and National 727s) the A320 would have been perfect.
Quoting PanAm1971 (Reply 19):
Anyway-Pan Am would probably have replaced all their 727's and 737's with A320's. I also believe they would have gone to the A330 for much of their transatlantic flights. They probably would have tried to push those old 747-100's till they could finance some 744's. Or perhaps they would have gone to the 777.

Pan Am had A320s on order when they went belly up.
 
xdlx
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sat Nov 19, 2011 10:03 pm

Quoting NASCARAirforce (Reply 36):

A very hypothetical question but a simple answer... if unable to change you perish!

PAA was the "chosen instrument" and served the US airline history well. Unable to change in the new enviroment
it was doomed. But the Pacific aquired by UA, the Atlantic, Europe, Africa and points beyond aquired by DL
still provide halmark routes established by the old PAA and are profitble today.
And as stated before MIA and the Latin American network still a money maker today.

Just as other big american companies PAA best days mark the road of today successes, without it
DL, UA, and others would have not gone as far as they have on their own!

Bon Voyage Clipper travelers
 
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gegtim
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sun Nov 20, 2011 2:31 am

My reply has a bit of a long intro to it, but it helps understand why I will say what I say. I grew up in Billings, Montana during the 1960's and 1970's. My father worked as a livestock executive for the Billings Livestock Commission Company. His job was to fly around to places like Denver, Chicago, Salt Lake City, etc and wine and dine cattle, horse and sheep owners into bringing their livestock to his company to auction off. He made many solid friendships with executives from Northwest, Western and Frontier, airlines. His favorite airline was Western because one of their execs always made it point to come and take my father to lunch or dinner whenever he was in Billings. Getting together for lunch or dinner and talk shop; what a concept. Guess it wasn't a good idea, because it doesn't happen much anymore. Okay, I'll cut to the chase - on one trip in 1971 my father brings this gentleman home with him. This was because Western airlines presented my father with a wooden hand carved Western airlines indian head. It was, and still is beautiful. In 2004 I donated it to the Air Museum at Felts Field here in Spokane. None of us live forever so I wanted to find a nice place for it. I remember this man being very concerned about the direction in which the airline industry was headed.I don't remember specifics, other then he was very angery at some things that Capital and Northeast airlines were doing. He stated that Westerns desires, at that time, were to see Pan Am and TWA dominate to international markets. Pan Am would take the Asian market with TWA the european. And I do remember him saying that Eastern should be renamed and given the Latin market. He was adament that the airlines operating within the US adhere to strict territorial guidelines. Made sense to me, for 15 year old boy. The last thing that he told my father about, who only was given time to listen as this genleman had a lot t say, was the desire to duplicate a fairly new computer network called HOLIDEX to tie together all of the airlines into one reservation system. I've heard of SABRE, but am clueless to a HOLIDEX system. What could have been is water long under the bridge, but I still like talking about it.
 
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sun Nov 20, 2011 3:08 am

Quoting skipness1E (Reply 17):
They never even got as far as ordering the series 200.

They may not have ordered them, but at shutdown they operated 7 200Bs.
 
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sun Nov 20, 2011 3:10 am

"Holidex" was Holiday Inn's reservation system, which was in it's time the first and by far most developed reservation system; this, in a time when you pretty much had to call the hotel at which you wanted to stay, long distance ( which was real money back then), in order to make a reservation.
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
 
sparkingwave
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sun Nov 20, 2011 8:38 am

Quoting NASCARAirforce (Reply 36):
Pan Am had A320s on order when they went belly up.

No, they had sold these orders long before that in order to generate cash.
Flights to the moon and all major space stations. At Pan Am, the sky is no longer the limit!
 
Bureaucromancer
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sun Nov 20, 2011 9:05 am

The basic question to ask is what you would change to get the airline to survive, and as a lot of people have said it's a tall order. My inclination is that they probably had a decent chance of survival with GOOD management and planning combined with decent foresight at least until they bought National... After the merger it really was all over. I've also gotta think that almost no matter what there is going to have to be a chapter 11 process at some point in the 80s or 90s to sort out the union problems they had, and getting an outcome good enough to save the company here is the hardest thing. Nontheless I love alternate history, so I'll make a suggestion as to how I might approach trying to save the company (and doing it in a way that gets an airline something like "the airline of Juan Trippe"). No explanation given for where you might find the management team willing to take this approach, but that's a problem I really don't even want to begin addressing this late at night.

I'm not sure about what dates the 707s entered and exited the fleet en masse, but I would definitely agree that the 747 purchase (while not NECESSARILY fatal) was one hell of a cock up. While regulation remains in place the airline is committed to low frequencies and does have limited competition so I wouldn't cancel the order completely, especially with the range advantages they had at the time, but certainly no more than 25 aircraft, and probably fewer. I'd suggest that this could well be justified by a company that also goes ahead with buying about a dozen Concordes as a preliminary to the expected SST takeover (if I was writing this as a fully fleshed out piece for alternatehistory.com I'd explain the logic in more detail, but I think I might justify this by having an airline that was just a bit more progressive historically, jumping, for example, on the Comet and Britannia when given the chance). Even Concorde as it was built, and certainly as a second group of aircraft would have been would have allowed a service at LEAST from the west coast to Hawaii and on to Australia and New Zealand via Fiji, as well as Asia via Guam or Anchorage (the Anchorage Tokyo leg is theoretically in range, but problematic, especially as the aircraft were delivered as well as the reality that while over the ocean a supersonic route up the US coast is likely to prove controversial). A round the world flight might even be possible depending on Australia's cooperation with overflight of the outback, but this would unquestionably be a prestige route, and certainly doomed long term.

Realistically the inevitable Concorde operations on the Atlantic probably just make the aircraft's finances even worse between the three operators, but the Pacific, particularly West Coast to Hawaii and West Coast to Japan has potential to do reasonably well financially (by the standards of Concorde that is). It is an interesting thought that even one more operator (and a significantly larger number of frames given Pan Ams potential routes), combined with opening up the Pacific could well result in a few more Concordes being sold to airlines feeling less able to ignore the Concorde as a purely prestige based project. I could well see some of Lufthansa, Qantas, JAL, Branniff (along with the other American majors, but this is the one that came closest in the real world) and Singapore getting a few frames at least for a while (and more outlandishly some smaller companies might carry through, thinking things like Iranian, Canadian Pacific (interesting potential for a YVR-YFB-LHR/AMS route here), South African and Air India here) but that's really out of the scope of what I'm writing here.

In any case, the major change that fewer 747s leads to is more 707s staying in service longer. While there are going to be more L1011s ordered to fill some of the gaps of a smaller fleet my approach to fleet planning in the late 60s and early 70s would be to provide the capacity routes actually demand, irrespective of the apparent prestige of the aircraft. Heading toward deregulation and greater competition I would want to put a lot of pressure on Boeing to launch the 707-700 (CFM56 re-engining program which flew a prototype in 1979 but was cancelled for lack of interest and potential in house competition with the 757) and combine the re-engining with a complete overhaul of the 707 fleet. The idea would be a more concerted brand re-launch around the time the new livery was introduced, with a first and business class product very much designed to be in keeping with Pan Am's traditional image (as in a damn good premium product); coach marketing would really just be about avoiding the image of ragged twenty something aircraft for a few more years. I'm not sure how difficult Boeing really would be to convince to re-engine 707s, but if some part of the negotiations included an early commitment to launch the 757 this would fit very well into the airline's fleet plan IMO even pre ETOPS.

On deregulation Pan Am is still left with all the problems as in reality, and doesn't necessarily have a whole lot more in the way of liquid assets available given that there has still been a lot of fleet investment, but the over capacity of the network is less pronounced, and with some luck the overall product is on the way to being rejuvenated. An early move into the package vacation market with an emphasis on "exotic" Asian and Middle Eastern destinations would seem a good move given the ownership of InterContinental Hotels and the need to fill seats while the network is reworked to handle the new competition. While the hotels were sold around this time that looks like a big mistake to me given the potential uses of the chain; there are other assets to sell first, and hopefully without buying National at such an inflated price the need to be dumping major parts of the company can be largely averted. As soon as price controls are removed I would have the airline launch a discount coach project. I see this as a response to a realization that the company has no domestic linkages, growing competition and over capacity for even the regulated market; this could also be a decent opportunity to start looking at concessions from the unions, although that opens up the ugly prospect of repeated and extended strike actions.

In any case, while Pan Am very clearly needs a domestic route network ASAP attempting to purchase one whole would seem to be the single largest mistake the company ever made. While the fleet would be stretched very much to its limits, along with the company's finances if new aircraft are needed I think building a new hub based network from scratch, and initially focussing very tightly on delivering passengers to the existing international gateways at a low price is the way to go. To me this means focussing on the longer routes to larger destinations and operating lower than fully competitive frequencies; essentially limiting destinations to those best able to be served by the wide bodies and 707s for now (thinking something like double daily from the existing hubs to Chicago, Salt Lake, Denver, Dallas, Houston and Atlanta to begin with, as well as more frequencies BETWEEN the hubs and mostly shifting the L1011s (no DC-10s without national, but likely more than in reality given fewer 747s) to domestic service). Given the way deregulation happened SOME airline will need to be purchased to get the operating authority for domestic services (other airlines were given international operating rights years before Pan Am was domestic, partially explaining the desperation for a partner/victim in creating a domestic network). I'd suggest the best approach would be to overpay for a small but well structured company that comes in well under the cost of National but allows Pan Am to start building its own network. Something along the lines of Alaska (bear in mind just how small they were around 1980) would seem promising (and could help bring fresh, well proven, blood into Pan Am management right when it's needed most.

Going forward into deregulation there is going to be a serious need for aircraft to get the domestic network going, especially if something like the Shuttle is also wanted (and I think that Shuttle was one of the few really good moves Pan Am made in this era, though showing up Eastern by also serving Chicago, or even conceivably adding the JFK-MIA and JFK-LAX if aircraft can be found to the shuttle system would seem like options with some decent potential returns). While buying Braniff when it collapses would amount to one over unionised (not exactly an attack on the unions for the record, but there were undoubtedly big labour problems at both companies) basket case picking up another there could well be a good opportunity to get parts of the fleet cheaply and quickly, giving a nice boost to the fledgling Pan Am domestic network.

Farther into the eighties the outcome of my changes starts to get murkier, but I tend to lean against the Airbus widebodies. While I very much see their appeal, and agree that an ETOPS aircraft is needed ASAP without the National fleet being picked up the tri-jets are not in quite as untenable position in the fleet, the 707s are very much in desperate need of replacement between age and fuel prices re-engined or not and more aircraft suitable for domestic service are very much needed. In all ways this leads me to believe that a big order (thinking 80ish, but I would need to look at the historical fleet and network more closely) or 757s would be the perfect route for Pan Am, especially if ETOPS can be achieved quickly. Once the company is looking at 757s I think that there isn't much of a case to be made for A300/310s even if they are available a few years sooner, and Pan Am should be a launch customer for the 767 as well. It's not at all clear to me what narrow body fleet would look like at this point between mergers and miscellaneous acquisitions, particularly in how many 727s, 737s and even DC-9s may have appeared, but the 757 was very much played up as a 727 replacement for American domestic use, and I think Pan Am should take that at face value. While the A320 WAS be the right aircraft for Pan Am if they could have gotten them into service I have a hard time seeing the company come to the decision to order them at this stage alongside 757s and 767s and without having purchased the A300/310s.

Heading into the ETOPS era the state of the company starts to look murkier to me. Assuming my marketing and early fleet changes were successful they are probably on a somewhat better financial footing, though I would expect the Pan Am building got sold more or less as in reality to raise funds for fleet expansion. A lot depends on what aircraft can be had in the early 80s, and how well the domestic network ends up being accepted. There's also the no insignificant issue that the company would be operating distinctly old 707s at least until the 757 appears, and what this would to to both company image and finances given the age and fuel requirements of the aircraft (that said, re-engined 707s WERE in domestic US service this long, and the re-engining will make second hand aircraft considerably more valuable for cargo operators). In any case, but the end of the eighties Pan Am is looking at a relatively new fleet of Boeing twins focussed on the 757 domestically and wherever ETOPS will allow it, L1011s filling a good deal of the long range over ocean routes but essentially gone domestically as soon as the 767s appear on the way out in general, an indeterminate number of 747-100s that have caused perennial problems with load factors and are probably still operating some 747SPs in the Pacifc and 737s in the Caribbean. There may or may not also be some sort of Concorde network operating out of JFK, IAD, LAX and SFO with pacific tech stops in ANC, HNL, GUM and NAN.

What happens next has a lot to do with what the financial situation actually is. I grant that there is a distinct possibility that none of this is enough to change things drastically, and that the company collapses more or less as historically. The modified domestic network itself could help or hinder somewhat either way, either allowing more cash reserves to stretch out the inevitable or eating what few resources the company does have but I have no real idea of predicting on the sport how that network would have performed in reality. If the company is fairly strong I could see the airline being an early customer for the 747-400 to dispose of the SPs and 100s without losing the prestige they will probably continue to associate with the type. There would also likely be dissatisfaction with the 757 as a domestic type combined with surprise at its distinctly impressive performance long haul, quite possibly leading to an A320 order very soon after the type enters service, largely sized in response to the performance of the domestic network and how aggressively the company intends to expand it. 777s would be ideal for this network, but I'm not sure whether they would be acquired early, or in large numbers given the likely commitment to 747-400s. Perhaps most likely in my view is that the company struggles on into the nineties with little in the way of resources and a distinctly unclear future, unable to dispose entirely of its older 747s, and possibly not even getting enough 757s and 767s to displace all the L1011s. In this case the historical sell off of chunks of the company seems pretty likely, and my view is that especially with the domestic network upsetting the other carriers there is even less hope for a solution like Pan Am II working; I could very well see a Braniff like collapse in the works sometime in the 90s.

If the company is still around today they are probably flying a still heavily hub and likely budget oriented domestic network. The premium product may well continue to be on par with other majors, and potentially (though questionable that a strategy launched in 1980 would last that long) with somewhat higher standards than other American majors. The overseas routes seem likely to remain the heart and soul of the company, though they have probably been pruned over the years. Around the world may have lasted longer than historically, and there is a very good possibility that around the world charter packages are offered, but scheduled services won't have made it into the nineties. The domestic routes are either operated largely by 757s with the company constantly trying to find a more economical aircraft, but more likely have been replaced by either A320s or 737NGs (I think that the A320 would be the choice if funds were available early, but given the companies history, especially in this timeline they are very likely to stick with Boeing once the NG is available). If the package vacation program from the 80s worked out (and really it working well is the only way I see the company getting the financial resources to pull off a lot of the other bits of this plan) they are probably a significant charter and vacation operator, and likely still own the InterContinental hotel chain, though it may well have been repositioned into an overall smaller brand focussed more on vacationers and all inclusive resorts than the traditional somewhat luxury/business orientation of the chain. Given the vertical integration here what I WOULDN'T expect to see is anything like Pan Am flying charters for cruise ships in the Caribean given that they would be a direct competitor in their own right (though I could almost see Pan Am branded ships (problematic in terms of anti trust laws in the US) or a direct partnership with a cruise operator between Pan Am and someone like Carnival if the airlines finances are VERY good).

There probably are some 747 floating around the network, by now I would expect them to be an all or mostly economy configuration except potentially on a few direct transpacific routes funds are never founds for 777s. The scheduled system would seem likely to be very 757 heavy with a smattering of 767s to Europe and South America and a reasonably high percentage of 777s in the Pacific (I would expect more 767s and some 747s in the Pacific rather than 777s if the airline doesn't perform well from about 1988-1998). African service is probably largely gone except for South Africa (which is quite possibly routed through western Europe) and Middle East destinations are an open question in terms of numbers and direct vs connections.

Overall the future is still probably murky for the airline in any case. Even if the financials have been reasonable I think it likely that they have all the problems associated with companies like Northwest and American over the last several years, and have probably had to declare bankruptcy more than once. The dream is that they are something of an American version of Emirates, flying everywhere, and being a reasonable choice for many passengers with destinations outside their home country and doing this with a very economy oriented coach cabin paying for very high end premium service that keeps up the image of the company and brings up yields. More likely they've turned themselves into just another struggling American major carrier that is if anything weaker than the others with a limited domestic route and even more boom/bust overseas routes than the others. That said, they may well have ended up benefiting overall from being in a position that limits their exposure to the regional market and short range domestic flying (though I'm sure something like Pan Am express would have happened at some point, but be considered a core part of the network, albeit much smaller than the affiliates of other major American carriers). I somewhat doubt that they would have been acquired outright by another carrier in this period if they can keep the company whole, being just a little too much to swallow whole at once, though once segments off the network start disappear all bets are off (though with the mega mergers of the last couple of years the more time passes the more likely acquisition becomes). Similarly, I doubt that they would have at any point after the early 80s been anything like solvent enough to seriously consider buying another carrier themselves, though discussions may well have happened, particularly in regards to Northwest.

Good god, this got way longer than I intended. I'm going to post now, but will revisit in the morning to see if I wrote anything really insane given how late it got while I typed. In any case I'm going to cross post this to an alternate history forum I mentioned earlier since it got so long and will report back if anyone there has interesting feedback. So let me know what you think of this scenario... Within reason? Missing something that makes it obviously going to fail? Or possibly just requiring Alien Space Bat intervention to actually arrange for without hindsight?

tl;dr
giant bit of speculation as to how Pan Am could have been saved, let me know what you think
 
Viscount724
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sun Nov 20, 2011 6:02 pm

Quoting PanAm1971 (Reply 26):
Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 24):
Not in the last decade, unless "it" was infrequent service on ancient 747s connecting to a sparse domestic network with premium hard products that would be viewed as torture devices today. Just compare business class on any of today's carriers to PA and those rose colored glasses will clear up rul quick.

I flew all of the US majors at THAT time. With the possible exception of United-none of the US majors even came close at THAT time. If Pan Am survived-and adjusting for improvements in cabin service-would beat the pants off any of the US majors now. BTW-the food aboard Pan Am was MUCH better than any US major now.
Quoting PanAm1971 (Reply 19):
It was such a great airline... and I am really proud to have been a regular passenger. Great people. Just fantastic. It was what you think it was. The better side of American aviation.

I flew Pan Am frequently in the 1970s and 80s (mostly in first class...they were very generous with upgrades to other carriers' staff; many flights had more nonrev employees in F class than revenue passengers). Their service was never much better than average and rarely a match for the best of their non-US competitors. I always preferred TWA's service. In their last few years Pan Am was well below average with shabby aircraft, poor on-time performance, and demoralized staff. They also suffered from poor management and didn't have the cash to update their technology. For example their reservations and yield management systems' capabilities were well below the current standards in their last few years, meaning they couldn't maximize revenues and yields as well as most of their competitors.

[Edited 2011-11-20 10:18:18]
 
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B737-112
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sun Nov 20, 2011 6:10 pm

Quoting skipness1E (Reply 17):
They never even got as far as ordering the series 200

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEjQ3yWE8Yg

 
1stfl94
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sun Nov 20, 2011 6:22 pm

Quoting B737-112 (Reply 44):
Quoting skipness1E (Reply 17):
They never even got as far as ordering the series 200
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEjQ3...WE8Yg

Their -200s were bought secondhand in the early 80s,
 
Viscount724
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sun Nov 20, 2011 6:28 pm

Quoting 1stfl94 (Reply 45):

Their -200s were bought secondhand in the early 80s,

Ex-SQ.
 
Bureaucromancer
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sun Nov 20, 2011 7:48 pm

Just a minor revision on having reread my mega post; it occurs to me that the 747 purchase was actually largely a project of Juan Trippe, and by his retirement the aircraft were almost ready to go. This doesn't really change much in terms of proposed strategy for the company, except that the L1011 fleet is unlikely to be all that much larger than historical; I would certainly try to buy some more than historical given that there won't be any National DC-10s coming, but for the most part it will probably work out better to accept underutilized 747s where the 707s don't work through the 70s.

The large collection of 747s is not going to help at all with the domestic strategy in the 80s, but the extra capacity should be a help with the vacation and budget operations. I would definitely engage in some kind of sell off of 747s during the 80s to help raise funds for more aircraft better suited to the domestic network, but their resale value is questionable and decent aircraft were in short supply at the time. I would expect to see the entire tri-jet fleet operating domestically and underutilized 747s spread liberally through the network once domestic gets started. I'd also think that more cargo conversions than our time line would be made as an attempt to maximize utilization of the jumbos that have ended up as the core of the fleet but are ultimately too big, burn too much fuel and cost too much to acquire.

All in all, more risk, but more opportunity for the economy and vacation strategies to work properly as well this way. I DON'T think that there's any way that the Pan Am building is going to be kept in company hands this way. This makes it even clearer to me that the package vacation and discount fare programs are make or break for the company; they either work and save it or fail and bring it down. This also solidifies my view that if the company does survive it is going to end up taking the not dramatically successful but surviving route I talked about earlier. In the 90s I'd expect to see an airline that has a reputation but a distinctly declining real world service as the 757/767 fleet ages. Domestic ops would be dominated by 757s which the airline has overcommitted to in much the same way the 747s were, having bought into the 757 being a direct 727 replacement as Boeing was trying to sell it. Smaller 737 NGs probably do appear late in the decade, but not in huge numbers and are really mostly about replacing classics operating in the Caribbean and displacing the 757s from their worst performing domestic operations like the shuttle.

The first gen 747s probably don't go anywhere until the 777 appears, and how quickly they disappear at that point is dependent on the financial position of the company again. My best guess would be that the SPs are replaced by a very small order of 747-400s in the early 90s, but the bulk of the 747 fleet that remains (some having been sold as 767 and 757 appeared in the mid 80s) is slowly replaced with 777s from 1995 on but at a relatively slow delivery rate. My best guess is that the post 9/11 downturn will be the death knell for the remaining original 747s.

I'd guess that the current airline would have a slowly shrinking 767 fleet being partially replaced by 777s, around a dozen 747-400s that there is constant talk of replacing but about which a decision hasn't been made (my guess is they could well end up being around as long the 747 Classics, and that they will not ultimately be replaced by true VLAs, unless you count the 777-300) a good number of 757s which the company perennially worries about replacing long term, but which are ultimately likely to be replaced by a combination of 787s and 737 MAXs over the next 15-20 years.
 
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N62NA
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sun Nov 20, 2011 7:51 pm

Quoting Bureaucromancer (Reply 42):
Good god, this got way longer than I intended.

I found what you wrote quite interesting. Thanks for taking the time to write it!
 
Bureaucromancer
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RE: If Pan Am Were Still Around, Where Would They Be?

Sun Nov 20, 2011 9:43 pm

Ugh, just saw that I claimed re-engined 707s were used in American domestic service up to the late 80s... Obviously I meant DC-8s, heh.

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