Las Américas International Airport (Spanish: Aeropuerto Internacional Las Américas) (IATA code: SDQ, ICAO: MDSD) is the main international airport located on the southern coast in Punta Caucedo, east of Santo Domingo. This modern airport is one of the largest in the Caribbean, handling over 3 million passengers per year through its terminals. Las Américas Airport was opened in 1959 as the official airport of the city of Santo Domingo. The official name of the airport was changed in 2002 to "Aeropuerto Internacional Las Américas- José Francisco Peña Gómez. Las Américas' runway direction is 17-35. This runway is the largest in the country, and one of the longest in the Caribbean, with a total length of 3,355 m. It can support an Airbus A380 without problems. The runway was last renovated in June 2008. The airport has two main terminals: A and B, plus a small domestic terminal.
Early March 1991 I had the opportunity to visit Santo Domingo for a couple of days. I was staying on the Island of Curacao for a family holiday. I booked round tickets with ALM airlines and flew onboard there MD-80s twin jet to Dominican Republic airport. Upon arrival I immediately checked out the terminal cafeteria, on the 2nd floor, which overlooked the cargo ramp. Wow what a sight…the oil soaked ramp of Las Americas airport was littered with piston engine cargo freighters….C-46s, DC-6s, Dc-7s and Connie’s. Clearly I had arrived at the Constellation Capital of the world. Then I visited the ramp control office for my photo permit, which took several hours. Later that afternoon I took taxi to nearby Boca Chica beach and booked a room at the Don Juan Beach resort, a nice hotel on the beach. The following morning I woke up early and headed out back to the airport and reported to the AMSA & Aerochago cargo offices next to the ramps.
ANTILLAS AIR CARGO
This newcomer to the cargo scène in the Dominican Republic used a sole C-46 for cargo runs, mainly to Puerto Rico. In 1991 it also joined the small band of airlines that use the Douglas DC-7, when it added a single DC-7C to its small fleet. It’s DC-7C registered N3775U crashed into the sea after take off from Miami International airport, on 5th November, 1992. All three crew members survived the accident, but the crash spelled the end for Antillas Air Cargo
Trans Dominican Airways, as its full name reads, began operating heavy cargo aircraft from Santo Domingo in the early 1980s. It briefly used a Constellation before switching to DC-6s and later a single DC-7. Both its DC-6s where stored in Santo Domingo and the airline operated mostly on its DC-7 for the cargo runs, with a single CV-440 used for ad hoc charter work. The CV-440 was painted in full TRADO livery, while the cargo aircraft are all operated in all-metallic, mostly without any titles.
AMSA - Aerolineas Mundo SA
Founded by William Bailes Bachi and Filipo Deplana in 1985 and was originally called Air Mar Freighters with a fleet of two C-46s. After reforming and renaming the company, operations with one Super Constellation were started in 1987, flying all-cargo services from Santo Domingo to San Juan, Puerto Rico and Miami in competition with Aerochago. The first aircraft had been bought in May 1987 and entered service in Aug 1987. The first flight to San Juan was on 28 Aug 1987. The service operated by AMSA was so successful that a second aircraft was added in July 1988. Flights to Miami operated two or three times a week. Mainly fresh produce was carried from the Dominican Republic and consumer goods on the return flights from Florida. The co-owner and technical manager William Bailes Bachi, who had previously flown Constellations with Argo and the Flying Tiger Line, was unfortunately killed in a ditching accident in Apr 1990 with the first aircraft. The company later used DC-7Fs but ceased operations with the other Dominican non-scheduled operators in March 1993
Named after the owner and chief pilot (Pedro Rodriguez) nickname 'Chaguito', Aerochago started operations by Nov 1982 after another Dominican company ARGO SA got into difficulties. One Lockheed L-1049 Freighter was purchased and all-cargo services were operated from Santo Domingo to St Maarten, San Juan (PR), St Croix and other Caribbean destinations. A second L-1049 Freighter was bought for spares use, both aircraft being formerly operated by Aerotours. A L-749A Constellation was purchased in Aug 1983 and cargo services later started to Miami. In the late 1980s three further Super Constellations were bought, all former military aircraft, and two or three weekly flights were undertaken Santo Domingo-Miami and three weekly flights Santo Domingo-San Juan or Borinquen, Puerto Rico. Cargo flights were also operated on behalf of Aeromar-Agro Air in 1989. A Convair 240 Freighter and several DC-7CFs were also operated during the early 1990s. Aerochago flew successfully until the grounding of all Dominican-registered non-scheduled operators in Mar 1993, and had the distinction of flying the last commercially-operated Constellation in the world - 50 years after the type's first flight!
Flew cargo charters around the Caribbean and to Miami with C-46 aircraft until the company ceased flying its own aircraft during 1973. From 1977 to 1979, Aeromar regularly chartered Air Cargo Support's 1049H up to five times a week for freight flights to and from Miami, and also Unlimited Leasing L-749A. In 1989, Aerochago Super Constellations were regularly chartered. The company also operated its own aircraft on passenger and cargo charters in the Caribbean and to Miami with Boeing 747s.
Aerotours Dominicano C por A
Aerotours was formed in 1973 by Eduardo Fernandez and took delivery of a L1049 Super Constellation in late Jan 1974. The aircraft was initially fitted out as a 96-seats and was used mainly on passenger charters from Santo Domingo to Port au Prince, Haiti, Caracas (Venezuela), Jamaica, the Virgin Islands and Colombia. Other destinations throughout the Caribbean and Central America were also visited. Freight charters were flown in the same area when the aircraft was not required for passenger use. In the autumn of 1977, the plane suffered an accident and was grounded for several months. From the middle of Jan 1978, after the Dominican authorities placed a ban on passenger-flying in Constellations, the aircraft had to be used exclusively on freight charter work (although it had no cargo door). In 1978, the aircraft flew regularly from Santo Domingo to Curacao, Aruba, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and from St. Croix (Virgin Isles) to San Juan (PR) as well as to other destinations in the area. The main cargo carried was fresh fruit and vegetables. In Apr 1979, a 1049G Freighter was purchased, the aircraft entering service the same month. Cargo flights to San Juan and, for the first time, to Miami in Florida were made with the 1049G during 1979. The two Super Constellations were withdrawn during the spring of 1980 and replaced by a DC-8F in May 1980. However, the DC-8 was returned to its lessor in Aug 80, and the 1049 Super Constellation (fitted with a cargo-door from the 1049G) started flying again in Aerotours colours within the Caribbean area. By Sep 1981 a Boeing 707-331C was leased to fly joint cargo services with Air Haiti, but the aircraft was returned to its lessor the following year. In November 1982, the cargo operations were taken over by Aerochago SA, and the Super Constellation was painted with the latter's titles with 'Leased to Aerotours' on the nose. By the following year, however, the name Aerotours faded out of use.
A small Dominican company formed in Feb 1971 that operated C-46s on freight and mail flights from 1972 between Santo Domingo and Haiti, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Miami. In Apr 1979, a 749A Freighter was purchased to supplement the sole C-46 in use, and this entered service the following month on cargo flights, particularly to San Juan (PR) and Miami, but also to other destinations in the Caribbean. A replacement 749A Freighter was delivered in Nov 1981 after the first aircraft was lost. A Convair 340 was also bought (in Dec 1982), but not used, as the company was experiencing financial difficulties. Operations ceased in mid-Feb 83 and the company's 749A and two C-46s stored at Santo Domingo. The all-cargo contracts were taken over by Aerochago
OUISOUEYANA - AEROVIAS NAC1ONALES OU1SOUEYANA C por A
Quisqueyana was formed in Sep 1962 with one DC-3 and various light aircraft. The company operated non-scheduled cargo and passenger flights, with a second DC-3 being added shortly afterwards. On 9 Aug 1963, the company was incorporated under the title Aerovias Nacionales Quisqueyana. C-46s were added to the fleet in 1964, and a three-year permit to operate scheduled passenger and cargo services from Santo Domingo to San Juan (Puerto Rico) and cargo flights to Miami, Florida, was granted by the CAB on 24 Apr 1966. Scheduled passenger flights with the DC-3s were operated from Santo Domingo to Santiago (Dominican Republic), Aruba, Curacao and Port-au-Prince. The cargo service to Miami was never actually operated. In Dec 1966 a L-749A Constellation was purchased and the following month an 049 leased, shortly after which scheduled passenger flights between Santo Domingo and San Juan were started. A second 749A was added to the fleet later in 1967. From Dec 1967, there was a daily scheduled flight for cargo, and a limited number of passengers, on the route. During the following years, Quisqueyana built up the Santo Domingo-San Juan route to a daily passenger service, as well as regular cargo schedules, and also served Santiago with the Constellations by 1971. A third 749A was acquired in Apr 1971, and the CAB permit was renewed indefinitely from 8 Apr 1971. The company also flew passenger and freight charters around the Caribbean and to South America, while inclusive tours to Haiti were flown with the Constellations from time to time. Passenger authorization was added to the Miami route during Sep 1973. There were plans at the time to lease two DC-8s for weekly round trips to Miami from Santo Domingo
With the withdrawal of Quisqueyana permit by the Dominican civil aviation authorities to fly passengers in the Constellations in Jan 1978, Quisqueyana flew the world's last scheduled Constellation passenger flights on 19 January 1978 from Santo Domingo to San Juan and return with L-749A HI-207 and 049 HI-270. The other 049 had been withdrawn in Oct 1977 and, after operating the final passenger flight, the second 049 was also withdrawn. Quisqueyana continued its passenger flights to San Juan with a leased Martin 404, but the proposed lease of a CV-880 fell through. The 749A soldiered on, flying cargo services on an irregular' basis to San Juan, and the last flight took place on 27 Apr 1978 from Santo Domingo to San Juan and return.
Quisqueyana ceased operations the following month, with the three remaining Constellations being taken over as part payment for the debts owed by the airline. The two 049s were scrapped at Santo Domingo, while the 749A was restored to flying condition in 1979, but was subsequently grounded.
|HI-532CT||L-1049B||4155||Aerochago – wfu/derelict|
|HI-602CA||C-46||Antillas Air Cargo|
Latin glory – Airlines of Latin America – 1995 Airlife Publication The Lockheed Constellation Peter J. Marson Air Britain publication 2007 Sky Truck Osprey Colour Series 1984 – Stephen Piercey