Major Businesses: Pan American World Airways, Inc.

About the major world business Pan American World Airways, Inc., history, headquarters, size, and leader.




Lay of the Land: Pan Am's 123 B-707, B-720, B-727, and B-747 jet aircraft fly between the continental U.S. and most of the world's countries. Until 1977 the company had no flights between points within the 48 contiguous states. It now has the right to carry domestic passengers on the U.S. portion of certain international flights. The company also has flights between most of the countries it flies to from the U.S. Many of the cities Pan Am flies to have hotels owned or leased by the company's subsidiary Intercontinental Hotels.

Size: Pan Am is the largest international airline in the world, the fifth-largest airline in the country, and the ninth-largest transportation company.

Population: 28,000 employees.

Who Rules: Pan Am's day-to-day policy decisions are made by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer William T. Seawell and President and Chief Operating Officer Forwood C. Wiser, Jr. The company's officers are elected by a 17-member board of directors that includes five officers. The board is elected by 155,000 stockholders owning 42 million shares.

Who REALLY Rules: Pan Am is run by the banks that lend it money to purchase aircraft the company does not need. Boeing is currently Pan Am's only supplier of airplanes, and banks that are represented on Pan Am's board of directors are also represented on Boeing's board. By getting Pan Am to purchase new and more efficient aircraft, the banks force Pan Am's competitors to purchase the same kinds of aircraft. The banks profit from the interest they make on loans to the airline companies, and if the companies default on their loans, the banks get the aircraft, which they can then sell or lease to make more money. In 1972 the 30 largest stockholders of Pan Am owned 49.2% of the company's stock. The seven largest New York banks alone held 13.6%. All the other major stockholders are also banks or brokers. In 1976 Pan Am paid no U.S. income taxes.

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