Pan Am in Afghanistan
Caryn Giles Lawson

I was a JFK based flight attendant from '79-82. I still can't imagine a more fun job. I have precious few mementos, including my wings (silver and gold), training class graduation photo (trained in Honolulu) and a toy model 747 (my favorite plane to work on). But here's something you might not know... At one time Pan Am owned 49% of Ariana Afghan Airlines. I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Afghanistan from '77-'79 and taught English to the employees of Ariana. There were several Pan Am employees working with Ariana at the time and that is how I came to Pan Am after my Peace Corps service was done. At the time the pilot's uniforms were identical to Pan AM's and even the style and color of lettering on the outside of the aircraft were the same as Pan AM's The pilots had all been trained by Pan Am as well. The had a 720 (different version of a 707) and two 727s. At the time I left, they had just agreed to buy a DC-10, which Pan Am was not happy about (this was prior to the National merger) because they had only Boeing equipment. Kabul airport has a very short runway (and then you go into a mountain) and Pan Am thought it was ill advised to have a large plane taking off and landing under such circumstances! There was no margin for error. I understand that they sold the DC-10 after a few years as the political situation deteriorated and their passenger traffic fell off. I don't know exactly when their ties to Pan Am ended, but it really was a sad situation and of course continues to be.