South America and Pan American
By Charles Dolan
As I was preparing my last article for the Captain’s Log, I was struck by the number of airlines in Central America which had connections with Pan American World Airways. The nineteen twenties and nineteen thirties saw the somewhat rapid and often chaotic development of air services in Central and South America. This area of the globe needed to move mail, people and cargo from many point As to many point Bs. The new opportunities were explored by local entrepreneurs and others from around the world. United States, German, French and Italian entities tried and failed or in some cases succeeded in establishing airlines in South America.
One name, Juan Terry Trippe, and one airline, Pan American World Airways feature prominently in this developing industry. PAA and Trippe, with the help of Charles Lindbergh, developed air routes along the east coast of the continent using both land and seaplanes. As new services were started, they went to these experts for technical and financial assistance. In other cases, such as the takeover of NYRBA by Panair do Brasil, the experts took over the competition. The old sports saying “You can’t tell the players without the program” holds true if one wants to try to follow the development of South American airlines. The best program would be Airlines of Latin America since 1919 by R.E.G Davies with more information about Pan American itself in Gene Banning’s Airlines of Pan American Since 1927.
Many of the insignia in my collection look as if PAA had a lot to do with the creation and/or operation of these South American carriers. In some cases this is true, but in others, the only connection is the similarity of insignia. Did the latter carriers just like the look of the PAA brass, or did they want the customers to assume a closer connection? We might never know.
I have also included several carriers which did not have any connection, but I found their insignia interesting.
Aero Peru, Aerolineas Argentinas, APSA, Area, C.A.U.S.A., Cruziero do Sul and NAB were independent, having no PAA connection. AVENSA was developed with PAA holding a 30 percent stake in the company. The PAA share of AVIANCA was 64 percent at its inception. Panair do Brasil was pretty much a Pan American Airways operation after the U.S. Post Office awarded it all of NYRBA’s mail contracts.
NAB, Navigasao Aerea Brasileira adopted the Pan American style wing for its pilot uniform.
Area, Aerovias Ecuatoriana, C. A. had an interesting connection with Pan American besides sharing the design of the cap badge. Area operated two Boeing 307 Stratoliners which had originally been operated by Pan American World Airways. An interesting “factoid” if ever there was one.
I hope you enjoy the images.
All Images courtesy of Author’s Collection.
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