Pan American-Grace Airways
Panagra's network stretched from Panama (or the Canal Zone) to Santiago, Chile and Buenos Aires. It was founded in 1929 to compete with SCADTA, a German-owned company, and held a quasi-monopoly over air travel in parts of Colombia and South America during the 1940s and 1950s.
In 1939 an American traveling to Buenos Aires would board a Pan Am S-42 flying boat at Miami and fly to Colon, in the Canal Zone, stay overnight, then board a Panagra DC2/DC3 that flew to Buenos Aires with overnight stops in Guayaquil, Arica and Santiago. Four days sounds slow, but it was a day faster than Pan Am via the coast of Brazil. Fare Miami to Buenos Aires was $550 one way.
After World War II airliners could fly at night, and in 1947 a Panagra DC-6 was scheduled Miami to Buenos Aires in 20 hr 25 min; Pan Am crewed the DC-6 across the Caribbean to Albrook Field, near Balboa, Panama. (In 1949 Panagra flights shifted to Tocumen.) In 1955 Panagra DC-6Bs and DC-7Bs started flying to Washington DC and New York, flown by National crews north of Miami. In 1957 the DC-7B via Lima was a couple of hours faster Idlewild to Buenos Aires than the Pan Am DC-7B via Rio.
According to the Panagra system timetable dated July 15, 1966, the airline was operating DC-8 "El Inter Americano" jet service between various Central and South American destinations and Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), New York City (JFK) and San Francisco (SFO). Panagra cooperated with National Airlines and Pan American World Airways with regard to their service to the U.S. This timetable also lists the following destinations served by Panagra in Central and South America: Antofagasta, Chile; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Cali, Colombia; Guayaquil, Ecuador; La Paz, Bolivia; Lima, Peru; Panama City, Panama; Quito, Ecuador; and Santiago, Chile.
Panagra merged with Braniff International Airways in 1967. Braniff operated the Panagra routes to South America until 1982, when Eastern Air Lines purchased its South American operations. Beginning in 1990, these routes were then operated by American Airlines which had acquired them from Eastern.
W. R. Grace and Company had a 50% share of Pan American-Grace Airways, with Pan Am owning the other half.
- Skyways. January 1999.
- airliners.net, Panagra Douglas DC-8 photos
- timetableimages,.com, Panagra July 15, 1966 system timetable
- airliners.net, Panagra Airways Boeing 727-200 photos