Líneas Aéreas de Nicaragua, operating as LANICA, was the national airline of Nicaragua from 1945 until 31 August 1981. Its history is indelibly caught up with that of the Somoza family's dictatorship, which ruled the country from 1936-1974.
Despite Somoza Garcia's thoroughly undemocratic actions after winning the 1936 Presidential elections his opportunistic support of the Allied war effort during WW2 not only enabled him to build up an enormous fortune but also to gain the interest of Pan Am which setup LANICA as a subsidiary with PA holding a 40% share. Initially the Somoza's obvious corruption and suppression of freedoms earned the ire of the US but the country's anti-communist stance and some deft politiking enabled Somoza to keep the US on side and LANICA to grow.
It's amazing to think that considering their giant size nowadays all the Far-Eastern majors like Singapore, Malaysian, Korean, Thai Airways, China Airlines etc were tiny operators until well into the mid 70s.
In fact most Oriental traffic at the time was still really the preserve of BOAC, Qantas, Pan Am and TWA. Airlines like Cathay Pacific were largely restricted to regional operations on infrequent multi-stop routes with small fleets of piston-liners and early jets.
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: