Hoping to complete an ironic twist of fortune, former employees of a U.S. airline that collapsed under deregulation in 1991 said Feb. 18 that they want to revive the carrier in East Asia — by taking advantage of ongoing deregulation in Japan.

Yoshimi Hirotani, a former employee of Pan American World Airways and now the president of a Tokyo-based human resources training company, announced Feb. 18 that his company and other partners who also worked for Pan Am will establish a new airline in April and start operations in October 1998. “We want to revive Pan Am in Asia,” Hirotani said. He said he will ask about 1,000 former Pam Am employees to join the new company.

Hirotani’s announcement comes five months after several former Pan Am executives put the carrier back in business in the U.S., linking Miami, Los Angeles and New York. Some details remain to be worked out, including timetables for launching operations and whether it will farm out aircraft maintenance work to other airlines. The new company would be headquartered in Fukuoka, will lease five airplanes and intends to schedule flights to Tokyo, Okinawa, Sapporo, Taiwan, Hong Kong and China.

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