Ending in tragedy
In the 1980s, Pan American World Airways, or Pan Am, was one of the most famous brands of airline on the planet. For more than 60 years it had pioneered transocean and intercontinental flying. Having begun life in 1927 with a few aircraft and a single route from
Then, in 1988, disaster struck. A Pan Am plane on route from
The horrific nature of the tragedy, the fact that everybody knew that the airline involved was Pan Am, and also the international nature of the story, meant that the Pan Am name was tarnished and could never recover. Despite the company’s constant promises of commitment to increasing its airline’s security, the public was simply not willing to fly with Pan Am anymore. After three years of flying with empty seats, in 1991 the company went bankrupt and shut down.
Lesson from Pan Am
- Some crises are too big to recover from. Pan Am handled the Lockerbie disaster as best as it could, but the decline in public confidence proved too much.