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Pan Am Lives on at the Pan Am Museum

by Kimberly Krol Inlander

Dec 28, 2021

© Claudiodivizia | Dreamstime.com


One of the world’s most iconic airlines, Pan American World Airways ceased operations on Dec. 4, 1991, after more than 64 years in business as a result of terrorism, rising fuel costs and an economic downturn. But today, Pan Am lives on at the Pan Am Museum in Garden City, New York. The Pan Am Museum Foundation unveiled its newest exhibit, “The Pan Am Saga – from its beginnings in 1927 to Its Slow Demise and Eventual Fall in 1991,” on Dec. 5, 30 years after the airline flew its last flights.


The Pan Am Museum Foundation is the only institution with a permanent, physical location solely dedicated to Pan American World Airways, and its mission is to “educate and inspire future generations by preserving the diverse and historical institutional and personal stories of Pan American World Airways.” The museum explores the history and culture of the airline with permanent installations, digital content and partnerships.


Pan Am Plane

© Allan Clegg | Dreamstime.com


In honor of the new exhibit, Pan Am Museum Foundation unveiled “30 Achievements that Define Pan American World Airways”:


  • 1927: First American airline to operate a permanent international air service
  • 1928: First American airline to use radio communications
  • 1928: First American airline to carry emergency lifesaving equipment
  • 1928: First American airline to order and purchase aircraft built to its own specification, the Sikorsky S-40
  • 1929: First American airline to employ cabin attendants and serve meals aloft
  • 1929: First airline to develop and use instrument flying techniques
  • 1931: First American airline to develop and operate four-engine flying boats
  • 1935: First airline to operate scheduled trans-Pacific service
  • 1939: First airline to provide trans-Atlantic passenger and mail service
  • 1942: First airline to complete an around-the-world flight
  • 1944: First airline to propose a plan for low-cost, mass transportation on a worldwide basis
  • 1947: First airline to operate a scheduled commercial around-the-world service
  • 1948: First airline to provide tourist-class service outside the continental limits of the United States
  • 1950: First commercial airline to enter the Korean airlift
  • 1952: First airline to use aircraft built specifically for tourist-class service on the trans-Atlantic route, the Douglas DC-6B
  • 1955: First airline to order U.S. commercial jet transports
  • 1958: First airline to operate scheduled trans-Atlantic service with American-built jets, the Boeing 707
  • 1962: First airline to make 100,000 trans-Atlantic flights
  • 1962: First airline to establish a global electronic reservations system, Panamac
  • 1963: First airline to operate the Boeing 707-321C pure-jet freighters
  • 1965: First airline to operate around-the-world jet freighters
  • 1966: First airline to order the Boeing 747
  • 1967: First airline to make fully automatic approach and landing in scheduled service
  • 1968: First airline to transmit engine data and position information from the air to ground in less than a second via a data link system which routes the information to a computer in the home office and then to interested departments
  • 1969: First airline to install a computer on the aircraft to analyze engine performance and display to the crew any malfunction
  • 1970: First airline to operate the Boeing 747 in regularly scheduled service
  • 1974: First airline to open largest single-air terminal in world at J.F.K. International Airport in New York City
  • 1976: First airline to take delivery of and inaugurate service with the Boeing 747 SP
  • 1978: First international airline to introduce a new class of service for business travelers and full-fare economy passengers, Clipper Class
  • 1981: First U.S.-flag airline to re-establish regularly scheduled flights to the People’s Republic of China


FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.


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