Did you know that on 28th October, 1927 the first flight of Pan Am Airlines took off and became the largest airline in the world, only to collapse in heap of debts later.
Pan American Airways, as it was then named, began operations on October 28, 1927, with the first scheduled international flight by a United States airline. A small wood and fabric Fokker trimotor airplane loaded with mail sacks took off from a dirt runway in Key West, Florida, and landed one hour and ten minutes later in Havana, Cuba, a distance of ninety miles. Within three months the airline transported passengers on a daily schedule between Florida and Cuba. Initial success encouraged the acquisition of new aircraft, employees and routes.
Pan Am proved to be an airline of many firsts; completing the first transpacific flight in November 1935, in May 1939 completed a New York - Lisbon route that inaugurated transatlantic flights and in 1942 Pan Am completed the first successful around the world flight. It also was the first airline to order the Boeing 747, a plane that flew more passengers faster, higher and farther than its predecessors. Pan Am continued to influence commercial aviation service, and in 1970 the airline carried 11 million passengers over almost twenty billion miles.
Its founder Juan Trippe established the InterContinental brand as a division of PanAm and opened the first hotel in Belém, Brazil in 1946 to provide accommodation to its passengers and crew in destinations where 5-star hotels were not yet present. The number of hotels grew with the development of the airline's routes, in South America and the Caribbean first, then reaching Europe, the Middle-East, Asia and finally the USA.
Pan Am Airlines was the largest airline from 1927 to 1991 but sadly it announced its bankruptcy in 1991 and closed shortly after that. Ironically, its little offspring, the InterContinental Hotel Group ( IHG ) advanced to become the largest hotel group in the world with over 4600 hotels in 100 countries generating over 157 million guest nights in 678,00 rooms.
Now you know another quirky twist in commercial history!