By Steve Kovacs (Introduction by Chuck Gibson)

LOVELAND, OH (April 28, 2021) – In Issue 2021-81 of Steve Kovacs Fun with Maps, we celebrate the first airline to fly across the Pacific Ocean.

Pan Am airliner (Stock images)

Come Fly with Me

Pan American Airlines, or Pan Am, was the largest international airline and the unofficial international flag carrier of the United States.

It started in 1927 and in the early days it focused on routes to Latin America and the Caribbean, as the name might suggest.  It grew rapidly, adding routes to Europe and in 1937 on this day Pan Am became the first to operate a commercial flight across the Pacific.

Pan Am led the industry into the jet age with broad use of the Boeing 707 and later the 747 aircrafts.  Pan Am retained a healthy cargo business as well.

Then the rains came – figuratively, of course.  The 1973 oil crisis and the economic slowdown in the 1970s created a double whammy and were the start of the slow process to dissolve Pan Am.  It finally sold off all its remaining routes, planes and other assets and closed the doors for a final time in 1991.

Here is a 1957 map showing Pan Am’s global cargo routes

1957 map showing Pan Am’s cargo routes (Credit Steve Kovacs)

Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.

Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Antique Maps & Fun Facts here on Loveland Beacon.