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



Services began in 1966, under the name Aerolíneas de Ponce (Ponce Airlines), with Aero Commanders.[1] 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).[2]

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. It was the intention that Prinair would have been one of the launch customers of the CASA CN-235 and at the roll-out of the new aircraft in September 1983 the prototype was actually painted in Prinair colors (right side only). However, the demise of Prinair prevented delivery.

During the 2000s, Prinair intended to return but it ceased operations again.

Incidents and accidents

Prinair suffered three fatal accidents and two non-fatal hijacking incidents[3][4] during its existence.

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