Today marks the 22nd anniversary of Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) ceasing its operations. Back on December 4th 1991 the decision was made to shut it down, as the airline was unable to produce the funds needed to keep flying.
Pan Am was founded in 1927 and originally started as a scheduled air mail and passenger service from Key West, Florida to Havana, Cuba. As well as being a founding member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Pan Am is creditable with shaping many aspects of the airline industry as we know it today, including PANAMAC; the original airline and hotel booking system, which IBM was commissioned to build in 1964.
The airline was an influential name in aviation throughout its 64 years of flying - it was the second airline to begin regular flights across to Atlantic in January 1946, with 7 Douglas DC-4s a week flying from LaGuardia Airport to London and Lisbon.
Pan Am was at its peak in the late 1960s to early 1970s operating at the forefront of the airline industry which was epitomised by the deal they struck with Boeing to become the launch customer for the Boeing 747; the first wide-bodied airliner in 1970.
It was a shock to the industry that the 64 year-old carrier; who was seen as the unofficial flag carrier of the US and once dominated international air travel, shut down so abruptly. Despite this Pan Am’s iconic blue logo is still remembered fondly by many and remembered as having been one of the world’s leading airlines for over half a century.
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