Puerto Rico

Airmail paves the way for Pan American Airways

Two years after Aeromarine terminated its service, aviation interest was revived when a Colombian delegation, en route to the United States, arrived in Havana in 1925. This was sponsored by the Colombian airline, SCADTA, which wished to start a trans-Caribbean air route. However, the U.S. State Department would not grant permission. Nevertheless, the episode stimulated official U.S. interest in foreign air transport, especially for airmail. This was to lead to the foundation of Pan American Airways.

On October 19, 1927, Pan American Airways made a demonstration flight from Key West to Havana with a Fairchild FC-2 "La Niņa", borrowed from West Indian Aerial Express. A year later, on October 28, 1928, Pan American opened regular Key West-Havana service with Fokker F-VIIa aircraft. A year after that, it transferred the U.S. terminal to Miami.

While Pan American was getting under way in the United States, a small company in the Dominican Republic, West Indian Aerial Express (W.I.A.X.) opened its first service from Santo Domingo-San Juan, and San Juan-Port-au-Prince, on December 1, 1927. Pan American purchased W.I.A.X. on October 16, 1928



airmail flight to Puerto Rico

An airmail flight to Puerto Rico.

Pan American Airways in Puerto Rico

Pan American Airways in Puerto Rico.


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That allowed the opening of through service from Miami to San Juan, via Havana, Santiago de Cuba, Port-au-Prince, and San Pedro, on January 9, 1929.

Today, San Juan is the international airport of Puerto Rico and is served from the US mainland by American Airlines, Continental, Delta, TWA, United, and US Airways. European carriers include British Airways, Iberia, KLM, and Lufthansa.