Prinair

Prinair

Prinair was Puerto Rico's domestic and international flag carrier airline for almost two decades.

History

Services began in 1966, under the name Aerolineas de Ponce (Ponce Airlines), with Aero Commanders. [ [http://www.prinair.org/History.html Prinair history page.] Retrieved: 13 August 2008.] The initial service flew from Mercedita Airport in Ponce to Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (then known as "Isla Verde International Airport") in San Juan. The company's name was changed to Prinair the following year (Puerto Rico INternational AIR lines). [ [http://www.aerosite.net/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=1329 Aerosite.net Prinair page.] Retrieved: 13 August 2008.]

The airline later used de Havilland Heron piston-engined aircraft for its services. The livery reminded the public of Braniff International Airways because of the many different colors used. During the 1970s, expansion saw the airline start services to Opa-locka (a Florida location close to Miami), Santo Domingo, the Virgin Islands, Martinique, Barbados, Puerto Plata, and many other Caribbean destinations, as well as Vieques, Mayagüez, Culebra and Aguadilla on the domestic side.

In the 1980s Prinair introduced service with larger and more capable Convair 580 turboprop aircraft. This provided the plane spotter at San Juan with another interesting aircraft type to look out for, but did little for the airline other than help increase the earnings from the Virgin Islands routes. Increased competition for these routes from Aero Virgin Islands and Oceanair, in addition to a measure of distrust from the public that had not forgotten a number of fatal crashes, caused Prinair to cease operations in November, 1984.

Incidents and accidents

Prinair suffered three fatal accidents and two non-fatal hijacking incidents [ [http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19701221-0 Aviation Safety Network 21 December 1970 Prinair hijacking incident page.] Retrieved: 13 August 2008.] [ [http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19720416-0 Aviation Safety Network 16 April 1972 Prinair hijacking incident page.] Retrieved: 13 August 2008.] during its existence.

On 5 March 1969 Prinair Flight 277 departed Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands for a flight to San Juan. Seventeen minutes after take-off, the crew contacted San Juan Approach Control. The approach controller on duty (a trainee) replied; "Prinair Two Seven Seven, San Juan Approach Control, radar contact three miles east of Isla Verde...maintain four thousand." The aircraft was actually three miles east of the Fajardo waypoint instead of the Isla Verde waypoint (which is located about 10 miles west of the Fajardo waypoint). Six minutes later the aircraft crashed in the Sierra de Luquillo mountains at an elevation of about 2400 feet; all 19 occupants were killed. The accident investigation found that Air Traffic Control was to blame. [ [http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19690305-0 Aviation Safety Network N563PR accident page.] Retrieved: 13 August 2008.]

On 24 June 1972 Prinair Flight 191 crashed after going around just after touching down at Ponce's Mercedita Airport, killing five of the 20 occupants (including both pilots). [ [http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19720624-0 Aviation Safety Network N554PR accident page.] Retrieved: 13 August 2008.] An accident investigation found that the go-around was prompted by a vehicle on the runway, [ [http://amelia.db.erau.edu/reports/ntsb/aar/AAR72-34.pdf First NTSB Report on the crash of N554PR.] Retrieved: 13 August 2008.] but the investigation was re-opened three years after the accident due to evidence that there was no vehicle on the runway; the second investigation concluded that the go-around was due to unknown reasons. [ [http://amelia.db.erau.edu/reports/ntsb/aar/AAR75-17.pdf Second NTSB Report on the crash of N554PR.] Retrieved: 13 August 2008.]

Prinair Flight 610 crashed moments after taking off at Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands on 24 July 1979 with the loss of eight lives. [ [http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19790724-1 Aviation Safety Network N575PR accident page.] Retrieved: 13 August 2008.] An accident investigation found that the aircraft had been overloaded by 1,060 pounds and that the center of gravity (CG) was 8 inches beyond the maximum rear limit. [ [http://amelia.db.erau.edu/reports/ntsb/aar/AAR80-03.pdf NTSB Report on the crash of N575PR.] Retrieved: 13 August 2008.]

Historical fleet

*28 de Havilland Heron
*4 Convair CV-580
*3 CASA C-212 Aviocar

References


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