The Story Of Pan Am’s Boeing 737 Fleet

The name Pan Am typically conjures up images of the airline’s legendary Boeing 747 aircraft. However, there was more to this airline than its double-decker quadjets. For example, it also flew 20 aircraft from the popular 737 family over the years. But which variants did this figure consist of? Let’s take a closer look at Pan Am’s relationship with the 737.

Pan Am Boeing 737
Most of Pan Am’s 737s were examples of the 737-200 variant. Photo: Aero Icarus via Flickr

The 737-200

According to data from, 14 of the 20 Boeing 737s that Pan Am flew over the years belonged to the 737-200 series. This was the second variant of the 737 that Boeing developed, and it featured a longer fuselage than the original 737-100.

Pan Am received all 14 of its 737-200s on a second-hand basis in the early 1980s. The first example, N64AF, joined the airline from United on April 26th, 1982. N67AF followed a day later, on a lease from International Air Leases (IAL). The final 737-200 to join Pan Am also arrived on lease from IAL. It bore the registration N63AF, and came onboard in April 1984.

Four of Pan Am’s 1983 arrivals were with the airline for just two years, returning to former operators Quebecair (three planes) and TEA (one) in 1985. The remaining 10 aircraft had longer tenures at Pan Am, with four examples sticking around until 1990. The last of these to leave was N67AF, the second to arrive. It returned to IAL in December that year.

Quebecair Boeing 737
Three of Pan Am’s 737-200s came from (and returned to) Quebecair. Photo: Aero Icarus via Flickr

Two convertible 737-200s

Alongside Pan Am’s 14 standard passenger-carrying Boeing 737-200s, the airline also flew two examples of the 737-200C variant. In this instance, the ‘C’ suffix stood for ‘Combi,’ meaning that operators could convert it between passenger and cargo configurations.

Pan Am’s first 737-200C (N4902W) arrived at the airline in May 1982. It was built in 1970, and began its career at Wien Air Alaska. This carrier was the 737-200C’s launch customer. After five years at Pan Am, it departed in June 1987 for Express One International. Its final operator was Antinea Airlines, where it ended its career in Algeria in 2003.

Pan Am’s second 737-200C (N383PA) was also built in 1970 and arrived in 1982, albeit a little later in September that year. It also left in 1987 (September in this instance), although its destination was different, namely French charter carrier Euralair. Its last owner was Rossair Contracts, and it was scrapped in Johannesburg in 2005.

Pan Am Boeing 737
The second version of Pan Am flew the 737-400 variant. Photo: Aero Icarus via Flickr

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737-400s at the second Pan Am

While Pan Am ceased operations in 1991, a second version of the airline took to the skies in 1996 after an investment group acquired the rights to the Pan Am brand. Among the aircraft that this version of the famous airline flew were four Boeing 737-400s.

Two of these aircraft were ex-Malaysia Airlines planes, with another coming from SAS Norge. These three twinjets all joined the new Pan Am in October 1997. A fourth aircraft, registered as N403KW, came onboard from lessor ILFC in February 1998.

1998 saw this version of Pan Am cease operations after less than two years of flying. In April that year, N403KW left for TAESA Lineas Aéreas, whereas June 1998 saw the other three leave for Olympic Airlines. One of these remains active today for ASL Airlines France.

Did you know that Pan Am flew the Boeing 737 back in the day? Perhaps you even flew on one of these twinjets yourself? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!