A piece of aviation history for 18 October

If one airline was a real pioneer for the civil aviation, that should be Pan American World Airways, an airline which dominated the skies for over six decades and has nothing to do with the charter airline with the same identity which appeared in the end of the 1990s. Pan American had only a small domestic network and so it only needed long-range aircraft to cross the oceans, fly longer routes to South America or high-density transcontinental routes. The airline pushed the development of the first widebody aircraft, the 747, and this situation made it almost impossible to expect a trijet order from Pan Am. When the competition on the international markets grew after the liberalization of 1978, Pan Am looked for a trijet which offered more flexibility than the large 747 and a domestic network to compete with Eastern, United and American, they chose the Lockheed TriStar 500 and the acquisition of National Airways. This caused a fleet-mix as National Airways brought in a fleet of sixteen DC-10s in 1979 and for a short time, Pan Am was an operator of every available widebody aircraft in the world (Pan Am operated also a fleet of A300B4s). The DC-10s were flown on the larger US-routes inherited by National Airlines but also on some services over the Atlantic Ocean. One of the DC-10s was even delivered new to Pan Am from an existing National Airlines order in 1980 and like all other Pan Am aircraft, the DC-10s got "Clipper" names. In 1983, the first financial problems appeared and all DC-10s were sold to American Airlines and United Airlines. Eight years later, the one and only Pan American World Airways collapsed and disappeared from the skies. 

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