Pan American Grace Airways (Panagra) was a unique joint venture between Pan Am and W.R Grace Shipping Company formed in 1928, which wasn't allowed to fly internally within the USA (though eventually its aircraft did crewed by National Airlines crews) but had an impressive network from Panama to the USA and down to South America. Unfortunately the relationship between the two owning parties became increasingly acrimonious and as early as 1964 Grace had come to an agreement to sell his half to Braniff International.
Braniff had operated its 'El Dorado' and 'El Conquistador' routes to Latin America in competition with Panagra since 1946 and matched Panagra's four new DC-8-31s (N8274H-N8277H) with its own Boeing 707-227s. It was nearly two years after the original agreement was signed with Braniff's Chuck Beard on March 1965 that the merger of Panagra into Braniff was finally completed; on February 1, 1967.
By that time Harding Lawrence had been installed at Braniff and implemented his 'End of the plain plane' revolution. The purchase price had also been inflated and finally stood at $30 million as opposed to the $22 million agreed in 1965. All of Panagra's remaining prop-liner fleet was dumped though the DC-8s were hastily retitled and pressed into Braniff service. They however also did not last long as from August 1967 the first of five DC-8-62s began to arrive which replaced Panagra's DC-8s one for one. Three of the DC-8-31s did however get re-registered (as N1800-1802) and wore Jellybean liveries.
The DC-8-62s had been ordered by Panagra prior to the merger but would prove perfect for Braniff's fleet. They continued the new registry sequence from N1803-N1807. The last aircraft was a series 62CF which directly replaced Panagra's fifth DC-8 which had been a series 55F (N1509U) operated since September 1966. Braniff added to its DC-8-62 fleet in late 1969 with two extra aircraft registered N1808E and N1809E.
Following the merger Braniff introduced several new colour shades utilising Panagra's green and yellow shades and named accordingly Panagra Green and Panagra Yellow. There were in fact two shades of Panagra Green.
Braniff's DC-8s have been beautifully realised in 1:400 by Aeroclassics and I own four in the Jellybean scheme. They are:
Livery Jellybean ‘Panagra Yellow’
CN / LN 45895 / 299
Delivery Date 22/08/67
Sale Date 12/05/82
This ship wore the Medium Blue, Panagra Yellow and Panagra Green jellybean schemes in the late 60s. She was operated by Pan Am in their colours between Jan 70 and Apr 71 as part of an interchange agreement before returning to Braniff where it took up the Green/Light Green Flying Colours scheme and then the Perseus Green Ultra livery till Braniff’s demise. Subsequently leased by Hawaiian, Arrow Air and Cargosur before returning to Arrow Air and leased to minor carriers in the 90s. Still in operation with Arrow in 2005 and then stored at Harrisburg Olmstead by 2009.
Livery Jellybean ‘Medium Blue’
CN / LN 45896 / 303
Delivery Date 20/09/67
Sale Date 12/05/82
The second of Panagra’s original DC-8-62 order joined Braniff’s fleet wearing the Panagra Yellow colours before changing to the Medium Blue. During the Flying Colors era she wore the Blue/Light Blue colours and finally during the Ultra era the Perseus Green scheme. Bought by IAL in 1983 she saw several leases with Arrow Air, TransGlobal and Rich International serving with the latter between Nov 84 and Apr 89 when she was converted to a freighter. During the 90s after short leases to Air Pacific and Lineas Aeras Paraguayas she served almost entirely with Arrow Air as ‘Caribbean Queen’. She was damaged beyond repair on 13th December 2002 when she overran the runway at Singapore after a flight from Yokota. The gear collapsed and the runway was closed for 18 hours.
Livery Jellybean ‘Beige’
CN / LN 45911 / 318
Delivery Date 19/12/67
Sale Date 12/05/82
The fourth of Panagra’s original DC-8-62 order joined Braniff’s fleet in the Red Jellybean scheme before she became the only series 62 to wear the Beige colours. Later she wore the Red/Aztec Gold and finally, during the Ultra era, the Corvette Light Blue scheme. Bought by IAL in 1983, like several of her sisters, she served short term leases; in this case with Rich International (Jan 1984-May 1984) and Surinam Airways (May 1984-February 1986). After this she went to Aeromexico for three years as XA-AMS and was then converted to a freighter in early 1989. She operated with Int Charter Xpress until 1993 when she was reregistered as N31CX with ICX. By October 1994 she was with ATI and continued in their service until withdrawal in January 2005. Stored at Mojave she was gradually parted out.
Livery Jellybean ‘Orange’
CN / LN 46107 / 498
Delivery Date 17/11/69
Sale Date 17/11/81
The last of Braniff’s original eight plane order she originally operated in the solid orange Jellybean colours and transitioned into the Orange / Ochre Flying Colours scheme and then the Chocolate Brown Ultra scheme before being returned to MDDFC in 1981 (who she’d been sold to in 1977). Leased to Arrow Air in December 1983 she was sub-leased (06th Jan 84) and then bought by Surinam Airways in March 1986. A short lease to Tropical Airways in 1987 preceded her return to Surinam service in 1988 and her loss as she crashed on approach to Paramaribo on 7th Sept 1989 in fog with the death of 177 passengers.
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: