Panagra pioneered flight operations in much of South America and by 1931 linked Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay with the USA. However Juan Trippe wasn't keen on Panagra competing against his Pan Am so all operations north of Panama were operated by Pan Am aircraft and crews. In 1947 Panagra received 3 DC-6s (NC90876-78) becoming the first airline in South America to operate the type. A further pair followed in 1948 (NC8103H-4H) and another in 1949 (NC6141C).
Images above are from the collection of Bjorn Larson from http://www.timetableimages.com/ttimages/pg.htm
In 1952 Panagra became the first airline in South America to operate the DC-6B when N6537C arrived. She was named 'El Pacifico' and inaugurated tourist service as opposed to the usual 'El Interamericano' first class service. William R. Grace was keen to expand Panagra's operations to truly connect from the USA as a full international airline but his dreams were continuously thwarted by Trippe who didn't want to see any competition to his chosen instrument: Pan Am. The relationship between the two became increasingly fractious especially when in 1955 Panagra went around Pan Am and signed an agreement with National enabling National Airlines crews to fly Panagra aircraft to New York from Miami.
Braniff had by this time started competing international services to South America and to stay in front Panagra replaced its standard DC-6s with DC-7Bs from June 1955. Five were delivered - registered N51700-04. Douglas DC-8s arrived from April 1960 but the rundown of the piston fleet was gradual. The sole DC-6B was sold to the supplemental airline Standard Airways on June 11, 1962. She was on-sold to Pacific Western in early 1965 as CF-PWF, joined Golden Voyagairs in 1971 and Conair, as a tanker, in 1973 before finally being withdrawn in 1983.
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: