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USAirFLL
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Alternate Pan Am story

Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:13 am

Long time lurker first time poster..... a question on Topic that has been well covered, but would this have worked

A restructing and reverse merger before the sale of the Pacific Divison in 1985. This I feel was the beginning of the end along with the National merger in 1980. Could Pan Am have restructed in a bankruptcy filing in 1984 to get its financials in order and cleaned itself up for a merger.

Hypothetically they could have walked away from unfavorable leases, dumped some 747s and sought a stronger domestic partner? Maybe they could’ve reverse merged with say USAir or Piedmont around this time with the Pan Am name surving. Both these carriers were fast growing and financially strong regionals. This would have given much stronger abiet east coast domestic coverage to feed JFK and MIA. Either PITT CLT PHL could’ve been also grown into gateways. On the fleet side having either US or PIs fleet would’ve allowed rationalization of the fleet with smaller aircraft and even allowed them to dump some more ac that were too large. On the west coast the Pacific flights would still exist and both USAir and Piedmont while strong in the east coast were flying transcontinental at that point. Can’t predict the future from there but they would not have been on life support going into the 1990’s.

Thanks for your feedback
 
SpaceshipDC10
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Re: Alternate Pan Am story

Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:29 am

USAirFLL wrote:
but would this have worked


Hypothetically, anything could have worked if the people at the helm had a different mind set or were totally different than in reality.

USAirFLL wrote:
This I feel was the beginning of the end along with the National merger in 1980.


Both National merger and Pacific network sale were not, at least to my eyes, the beginning of the end. The end started, at least, when Juan Trippe left the company without having ever properly planned his succession and the series of guys that led the airline to the wall, especially Acker.
 
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intotheair
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Re: Alternate Pan Am story

Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:36 am

Sure, there were plenty of mistakes earlier, but from what I always gathered, the company was on a turnaround strategy by the late 80s that would have kept it going longer. It was really the drop in bookings from Lockerbie that made it impossible to continue.
300 319 320 321 332 333 345 346 380 717 733 734 735 73G 738 739 744 752 753 762 763 772 77W 788 789 CR2 CR7 CR9 CRK Q400 E175 DC10 MD82 MD90
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PSAatSAN4Ever
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Re: Alternate Pan Am story

Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:53 am

In my opinion, no aircraft looked more majestic than a Pan Am 747-100, with the simple blue cheatline and timeless globe on the tail. Even the font was fabulous yet understated.

I too have had an alternate version of Pan Am, in chronological order:

1) Pan Am commits to purchase more A310's from Airbus so as to continue to be JFK's #1 European-bound airline, without having to offer a secondary stop via FRA.
2) Pan Am begins a slow phase-out of its 747's, allowing them to retire in dignity.
3) Pan Am re-works its domestic market to center on JFK. Translation: they were to become JetBlue 10-15 years before JetBlue.
4) Continuing with being a now-premiere customer of Airbus, Pan Am introduces the A320 on domestic transcon routes. "Flying Cloud" service, exclusive to JFK-LAX and JFK-SFO (at first) is a true First Class product. Expansion happens as more aircraft are introduced.
 
jfk777
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Re: Alternate Pan Am story

Sat Jan 19, 2019 2:17 am

Bankruptcy back in the early 1980's was a death sentence, remember Braniff ? they died. Pan AM needed a midwest hub and Chicago would have been the obvious choice so that meant buying United which in 1981 was a purely North American airline," the biggest airline in the free world". UA would have given PA an O'hare hub with great possibilities for Europe and Asia. What could have been.
 
mga707
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Re: Alternate Pan Am story

Sat Jan 19, 2019 2:30 am

jfk777 wrote:
Bankruptcy back in the early 1980's was a death sentence, remember Braniff ? they died. Pan AM needed a midwest hub and Chicago would have been the obvious choice so that meant buying United which in 1981 was a purely North American airline," the biggest airline in the free world". UA would have given PA an O'hare hub with great possibilities for Europe and Asia. What could have been.


Only one yea and four months after Braniff's shutdown in May 1982 Frank Lorenzo took Continental into bankruptcy and did NOT liquidate the airline. From that point on filing for bankruptcy was no longer a 'death sentence' in the US airline industry.
 
N649DL
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Re: Alternate Pan Am story

Sat Jan 19, 2019 2:59 am

Pan Am was apparently rather close to merging with Northwest in and around 1988 but NW walked away when they saw the financial books. If they did that, they would've got the Pacific back plus have the domestic route structure and Airbus orders to take on (Pan Am was about to take delivery of A320 at the time but didn't.)
 
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TWA772LR
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Re: Alternate Pan Am story

Sat Jan 19, 2019 5:21 am

PA shouldve merged with UA CO or AA to truly round out its route map. But they never did bankruptcy properly, ie to clean up financials instead of shrinking to regain profitability which never works.

Werent PA and NW actually very close to a merger only to call it off at the last minute?
When wasn't America great?


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ClipperYankee
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Re: Alternate Pan Am story

Sat Jan 19, 2019 5:40 am

PSAatSAN4Ever wrote:
In my opinion, no aircraft looked more majestic than a Pan Am 747-100, with the simple blue cheatline and timeless globe on the tail. Even the font was fabulous yet understated.



Not trying hijack the thread but:
While I am a huge 747 fan for me the set a standard, most elegant airliners, were Pan Am's 707-300s. That blue cheatline on white fuselage, the bold title in black and the forward leaning antenna atop the fin with the blue "meatball" below just made them look regal.
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aviationaware
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Re: Alternate Pan Am story

Sat Jan 19, 2019 8:32 am

USAirFLL wrote:

A restructing and reverse merger before the sale of the Pacific Divison in 1985. This I feel was the beginning of the end along with the National merger in 1980. Could Pan Am have restructed in a bankruptcy filing in 1984 to get its financials in order and cleaned itself up for a merger.



Pan Am fell victim to the emergence of the hub and spoke model. Without a sizeable domestic operation, there is no way PA would have survived. Their only chance to get a sizeable domestic operation quickly was a merger, they went that route and it failed spectacularly.

The decisions that killed Pan Am were made before the 80s. By that time it was too late to change them. Even if PA had survived that particular year, there was no chance ever for the airline to see the millennium.
 
RalXWB
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Re: Alternate Pan Am story

Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:11 am

Ironically, Pan Ams demise started with the 747s. They got too many which they could not fill, never recovered from that financial burden and in the end they were still flying those -100s while the competition was already flying -400s.
 
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TheFlyingDisk
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Re: Alternate Pan Am story

Sat Jan 19, 2019 11:54 am

Reading Skygods by Robert Gandt I recall Pan Am exploring a merger with TWA in the 70s prior to deregulation. Obviously they were denied, but why didn't they relook the merger plans with TWA after deregulation, instead of hopping into bed with National?

Also, why the insistence of acquiring National, instead of building their network on their own a la Braniff?
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bunumuring
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Re: Alternate Pan Am story

Sun Jan 20, 2019 12:42 am

Hey guys,
I was just old enough to get into aviation photography when Pan Am sold off the Pacific network to United so I never did get to see many Pam Am jets in Sydney, sadly. I remember the United -SPs in hybrid colours.
The amazing thing is Pan Am would still have some 'memory' in the Australian market, as it probably would in many markets.
Cheers,
Bunumuring
I just wanna live while I'm alive!
 
bunumuring
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Re: Alternate Pan Am story

Sun Jan 20, 2019 1:05 am

Hey guys,
A question : when Pan Am sold the Pacific network to United, were there any other airlines interested and who approached who first?
Cheers,
Bunumuring
I just wanna live while I'm alive!
 
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USAirFLL
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Re: Alternate Pan Am story

Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:41 am

I thought I read that American was interested
 
timh4000
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Re: Alternate Pan Am story

Sun Jan 20, 2019 1:16 pm

I had no idea at the time back in the mid 80's when I was flying back and forth from FRA-JFK. that was before Lockerbie and there were a couple of those flights that were maybe half full. I would imagine a half full 747-100, 200 would not be a profitable one.
 
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northstardc4m
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Re: Alternate Pan Am story

Sun Jan 20, 2019 6:02 pm

National WAS the start of the fall... PA spent too much for an airline that didn't provide the domestic feed to it's hubs OR any markets they didn't reach.

If they'd dropped National on Lorenzo instead of getting into a buying war with him and giving him a big nest egg. Instead as I've said before you want to change the history, drop National, take the money, build your own domestic feed and/or buy up smaller carriers like Air Florida, maybe PSA or Air Cal, Empire, Altair... heck half the early startups for Deregulation would work.
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