Skip to main content

Postal History

Early airmail to Colombia

Andrew Cheung

Early airmail letter to Colombia

5 January 1931, Triple-rate letter, Guatemala to Bogota, Colombia
Itin: PAA to Cristobal, Panama, "SCADTA" to Buenaventura, arrived in Bogota on 12 Jan.


81ctvs. fee up to 30 grams, 5ctvs. PAPU rate/30 grams + 1ctv. Postal Tax

This represents the short-lived 27ctvs. fee. The air fee went up to 31ctvs. from 1932.

I thought land-based airplane used Barranquilla, therefore would Buenaventura, a seaport supported SCADTA's seaplane such as the Dornier Wal? Any thoughts of this combined SCADTA - PAA service?

Background info:-

In 1919 Sociedad Colombo-Alemana de Transportes Aéreos (SCADTA) is formed with backing from German and Colombian businessmen. After years of preparations and survey flights, SCADTA starts scheduled operations from 1921 and in June 1928 international service commenced from Colombia to Guayaquil, Ecuador and this was extended to Panama City and Cristóbal in April in 1929. During this time, SCADTA began using the name Servicio Bolivariano de Transportes Aéreos in its marketing, referring to the great liberator of South America Simón Bolívar.

The United States signed a bilateral air agreement, its first ever, with Colombia on February 23, 1929. PANAGRA, a partnership of Pan American Airways and the W.R. Grace shipping line, had started its own service from Miami to Panama City on February 3. Charles Lindbergh piloted the inaugural flight in a Sikorsky S-38 flying boat. PANAGRA had stronger finances, more influence, better equipment, and more publicity than SCADTA. Von Bauer signed a secret agreement with Pan Am president Juan Trippe in which SCADTA surrendered its international routes in exchange for an infusion of capital. Pan Am acquired 84.4 percent of the capital after a formal agreement was signed in February 1930 and SCADTA essentially became the Colombian part of the Pan Am network. New American- and British-made planes began appearing in SCADTA's diverse fleet.