Pan American World Airways, commonly called Pan Am, was founded as a humble mail carrier in Key West, Florida in 1927. Its founder, Juan Trippe, lobbied heavily for and gained a virtual monopoly on international routes from U.S. cities. Since many of its early destinations were port cities lacking airport facilities, Pan Am made extensive use of so-called "flying boats," culminating in "clipper" service on trans-Pacific and some European routes. A pioneer in jet service and jumbo jets, Pan Am remained the leading U.S. carrier on international routes into the 1970s, from bases at New York-JFK, Miami, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Under pressure from competitors, however, the government granted international routes to competitors. Pan Am's post-deregulation entry into the domestic market was troubled. Pan Am sold off its lucrative routes piece by piece to United, American, Delta, Lufthansa, and other competitors, but was unable to service its debt, and the airline ceased operation in December 1991. The name and insignia were purchased out of bankruptcy court, and adopted by a revived airline which offered limited continental service from 1995 to 1998 before also succumbing. In 1998, yet another revived airline was established in New Hampshire, providing limited and charter service primarily to the northeastern U.S. and some Caribbean destinations.
Pan American Heritage Web Site
Site of the Pan Am Historical Foundation. Provides a comprehensive airline history, lists of the clippers, image library, and former employee resources, as well as foundation newsletter and related links.
An illustrated timeline of Pan American Airway's China Clipper.
Pan American Airways Documentary Project: On the Wings of Giants
A project to completely document the history of Pan Am. Site provides streaming and written interviews and accounts of former employees, photograph gallery, timeline, and information about the project proposal, fundraising, and backers.
Last update:September 10, 2015 at 5:45:03 UTC