An international only Airline

October 14th, 2017 at 8:13:26 AM permalink
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
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Pan American World Airways was the principal and largest international air carrier in the United States from 1927 until its collapse on December 4, 1991. In an era dominated by flag carriers that were wholly or majority government-owned, it was also the unofficial overseas flag carrier of the United States.

Original Boeing 747 orders
Apr 13, 1966 33 Pan Am World Airways
Sep 3, 1966 15 TWA
Oct 3, 1966 22 United Airlines
Nov 1, 1966 16 American Airlines
Nov 11, 1966 10 Northwest Airlines
Jun 12, 1967 4 Eastern Air Lines
Jun 26, 1967 5 Delta Air Lines
Jan 10, 1968 1 Braniff Airlines

At its peak in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Pan Am advertised under the slogan, the "World's Most Experienced Airline". It carried 6.7 million passengers in 1966, and by 1968, its 150 jets flew to 86 countries on every continent except for Antarctica over a scheduled route network of 81,410 unduplicated miles . During that period the airline was profitable and its cash reserves totaled $1 billion.

As rival airlines convinced Congress that Pan Am would use its political clout to monopolize U.S. air routes, the CAB repeatedly denied the airline permission to operate in the U.S., by growth or by a merger with another airline.

Pan Am's massive purchase of B747's became a critical problem after the oil crisis of 1973, as fuel costs skyrocketed. After deregulation in 1978, Pan Am began looking for a domestic network to merge with , which it did not do until 1980 after a bidding war for National Airlines. Pan Am finally went bankrupt in 1991.

For some years now, I would say that United's domestic network exists almost exclusively to feed it's international network. Over 50% of it's domestic passengers begin or end in one of their five domestic hubs: ORD, DEN, EWR, SFO, IAH, and another 12% go to LAX, and IAD.

Domestic Passengers carried by USA airlines (relative number of passengers)
100% Southwest Airlines Co.
74% Delta Air Lines Inc.
73% American Airlines Inc.
49% United Air Lines Inc.
21% JetBlue Airways
20% SkyWest Airlines Inc.
15% Alaska Airlines Inc.
14% Spirit Air Lines
10% Republic Airlines
10% ExpressJet Airlines Inc.
9% Frontier Airlines Inc.
8% Allegiant Air
8% PSA Airlines Inc.
8% Mesa Airlines Inc.
7% Endeavor Air Inc.
6% Envoy Air
6% Hawaiian Airlines Inc.
5% Virgin America
4% Horizon Air

Deregulation 40 years ago allowed Pan Am to finally acquire a domestic network, but eventually the airline went bankrupt. My question is would it make sense to reverse the process today? Could United become an international airline coupled with a miniature domestic network that connects it's 7 hubs, and merge with a domestic network that feeds the United network and also makes money moving people within the USA?