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IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 1981
Commenced operations 1981
Ceased operations 1992
Hubs Augusto C. Sandino International Airport
Company slogan The Rainbow Airline[2]
Headquarters Managua, Nicaragua

Aerolíneas Nicaragüenses S.A., operating as Aeronica, was an airline from Nicaragua. Headquartered in the capital Managua, it operated scheduled passenger flights within Central America, as well as to Mexico City and the United States out of its hub at the city's Augusto C. Sandino International Airport.[1]


Aeronica was founded in 1981,[1] as a consequence of the demise of LANICA in 1979.[citation needed] Between 1985 and 1990, when the United States embargo against Nicaragua was in force, the airline was prevented from serving the important United States market. Also, Soviet-built Tupolev TU-154M were introduced into the Aeronica fleet, because spare parts for US-made ones could not be acquired.[3] In the early 1990s, Aeronica came under economical pressure. In 1992, TACA acquired a 49 percent stake in the company, but without any effect: In the same year, the airline license of Aeronica was revoked and the airline shut down.[1]

In 1994 Grupo Taca reestablished the airline as Nica Airlines, with new colors and fleet, ten years after Taca again shutdown the airlines, due to marketing strategies in order to improve TACA Airlines branding in the region.


During the 1980s, Aeronica offered scheduled international passenger flights to the following destinations:[2]

Costa Rica
El Salvador
United States


Over the years of its existence, Aeronica operated the following aircraft types:[1]

Aircraft Introduced Retired
Antonov An-26
Antonov An-32
Boeing 737-800
Boeing 720
Boeing 727-200
CASA C-212 Aviocar
Curtiss-Wright C-46 Commando
Boeing 737-700
Douglas DC-6
Fokker F27 Friendship
Tupolev Tu-154M

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 12 December 1981, a bomb exploded inside the passenger cabin of a parked Aeronica Boeing 727-100 (registered YN-BXW) at Mexico City International Airport, tearing a hole into the fuselage. The captain, two flight attendants and a ground worker were injured. They had been on board the aircraft for pre-departure checks for a scheduled passenger flight to San Salvador and onwards to Managua.[4]
  • On 10 May 1982, two hijackers demanded a Curtiss-Wright C-46 Commando to leave its Bluefields-Big Corn Island route and land in Costa Rica instead. The pilots obeyed and landed at Limón, where the perpetrators surrendered.[5]
  • On 29 June 1983, an Aeronica CASA C-212 Aviocar (registered YN-BYZ) was damaged beyond economical repair in a crash landing at Augusto C. Sandino International Airport, which happened because the copilot had accidentally applied reverse thrust rather than the flaps immediately before landing.[6]
  • On 20 April 1985, a problem was encountered with the additional fuel tanks that an Fokker F27 Friendship (registered YN-BZF) had been fitted with for the delivery flight to Aeronica from Europe to Nicaragua. The pilots decided to return to Kulusuk Airport in Greenland, the place of their most recent fuel stop, but failed to do so. The aircraft crashed on a snow-covered strip, killing two of the five occupants.[7]
  • On 28 December 1987 at 14:36 local time, an Aeronica Douglas DC-6 lost its inner right engine whilst en route a cargo flight from Managua to Panama City. Debris had also damaged the outer right engine, forcing the pilots to execute a water landing in a river in Costa Rica, which all six persons on board survived.[8]
  • The worst accident in the history of Aeronica happened on 26 May 1988, when another DC-6 (registered YN-CBE) crashed near Limón in Costa Rica, killing the six occupants.[9]
  • On 10 November 1991, an Aeronica Boeing 727-100 (registered YN-BXW, the same aircraft that had been damaged in a bomb explosion in 1981) was destroyed in a fire at Managua Airport, which had arisen from an ignited oxygen leak during maintenance work.[10]