Paras | Pan Am Airlines Bali | Museum of Modern Art MoMA
Paras | Pan Am Airlines Bali | Museum of Modern Art MoMA

Pan Am

Designed by graphic design firm Chermayeff & Geismar and photographed by Magnum’s photographers, these posters for Pan Am World Airways feature evocative, unspectacular and anti-corporate images of far-flung places, and are emblematic of the most progressive design of the 1970’s and now a symbol of late modernism – rather than engaging with each country’s everyday realities, the viewers of these images, potential travellers, remain aesthetic observers.

In the 1970’s Pan Am indirectly managed two of Indonesia’s most renowned hotels through its subsidiary Inter-Continental Hotels: Hotel Indonesia in central Jakarta and Hotel Bali Beach Inter-Continental, the tallest building on the island of Bali. At the time, Inter-Continental Hotels (now InterContinental Hotels & Resorts) was still owned by Pan Am, which, as well as giving Bali its first international hotel, also brought its first and so far its only fatal airline disaster.

Pan Am Flight 812 (PA812), operated by a Pan American World Airways Boeing 707-321B registered N446PA and named Clipper Climax, was a scheduled international flight from Hong Kong to Los Angeles, California, with intermediate stops at Denpasar, Sydney, Nadi, and Honolulu. On April 22, 1974, it crashed into rough mountainous terrain while preparing for a runway 09 approach to Denpasar after a 4-hour 20-minute flight from Hong Kong. All 107 people on board perished. The location of the accident was about 78.7 km northwest of Ngurah Rai International Airport. Clipper Climax was the jet used in the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory to deliver the guarded shipment of Wonka bars.

In the aftermath of the crash, Pan Am stopped their Hong Kong to Sydney flights via Bali. A monument was erected by the Regent of Badung Regency Wayan Dana and Bali Governor Soekarmen, with the names of 107 victims inscribed on the monument.