Dominicana de Aviación

Compañía Dominicana de Aviación, usually shortened to Dominicana, was an airline from the Dominican Republic, serving as flag carrier of the country.

Dominicana de Aviación
IATA ICAO Callsign
Ceased operations1999 (inactive since 1995)
HubsLas Américas International Airport
Focus citiesMiami International Airport, Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport
Destinations19 (At time of closing)
HeadquartersSanto Domingo, Dominican Republic


Douglas DC-6B freighter of Dominicana at Miami International Airport in 1975.

Dominicana was established in 1944 in an effort to create a national airline aiming at the large number of Dominican citizens who emigrated to the United States of America, Puerto Rico and Spain. The initial fleet consisted of Douglas DC-3 and DC-6 aircraft. During the 1950s, Dominicana launched a domestic route network to places such as Puerto Plata, La Romana and Santiago de los Caballeros, acquiring Curtiss-Wright C-46 Commando and Aviation Traders Carvair airplanes. In the 1960s, Dominicana renewed its fleet with Douglas DC-8, McDonnell Douglas DC-9 and Boeing 727 jet aircraft. The route network was further expanded, with more destinations in the Americas and the Caribbean during the 1970s. At its height in the 1980s, Dominicana operated Boeing 747 aircraft to European destinations like Madrid, Milan, and Frankfurt.

At the end of the decade, the airline's economic situation worsened due to poor management, lack of innovation or cost-cutting culture, and the heavy maintenance costs of its aging fleet. More importantly, on the revenue side, government employees also sought to fly non-revenue, given the typical patronage in the Dominican Republic with many flights full of them often displacing paying passengers. Subsequently, the fleet and network were scaled back, leaving only the original routes like New York, Miami, Caracas, and San Juan. In an effort to save on maintenance costs, Dominicana began to operate leased aircraft (mostly Boeing 727s, but also in Q1 and Q2 of 1993 an Airbus A300 from Conair). The financial situation further worsened into the 1990s, which coincided with a negative customer reputation (like lost or delayed luggage as well as unreliable schedules). In 1994, now also faced with Cat1 restrictions in the US, Dominicana wet-leased a Boeing 737-300 and a Boeing 757-200 from Mexican low-cost airline TAESA. Further aircraft were wet-leased from Express One International, Atlantic Aviation and Carnival Air Lines. During Christmas of 1994, many Dominicana VFR passengers were stranded at JFK, MIA, and SJU when the airline was unable to provide necessary funding to lessors for heavily-booked Christmas flights (and, overbooked for the B727 the lessors were providing, since an A300 had been expected to be wet-leased). As a consequence of the outrage, in early 1995 the government of the Dominican Republic decided to shut down the airline. While the shutdown was originally only planned as a temporary measure to get re-organized, the company never became operational again. The vice president at the time was quoted saying that "Dominicans can fly APA Internacional" which was another "local" airline that benefited handsomely from Dominicana's demise. While several attempts have been made to privatize the airline, no efforts came to fruition. American Airlines and later JetBlue dominated the market and the business case for a new Dominican flag carrier is relatively weak given the investment that would be required and the debts that would have to be honored in order to use the Dominicana name.[1]


Over the years, Dominicana operated the following aircraft types:[2][3]

Dominicana fleet development
Aircraft Total
ATL-98A 2
Boeing 707-300 3
Boeing 720 1
Boeing 727-100 5
Boeing 727-200 10
Boeing 737-400 1
Boeing 747-100 1
Boeing 757 1
Douglas DC-3 2
Douglas DC-4 5
Douglas DC-6 5
Douglas DC-8 1
McDonnell Douglas DC-9 2
McDonnell Douglas DC-10 3

(Airbus 300-400/1


The most common Dominicana livery consisted of a metallic silver fuselage, with red and blue cheatlines tail painting, representing the colors in the Dominican flag. The Dominicana titles were written in black letters above the passenger windows.

Accidents and incidentsEdit

  • On 11 January 1948, a Dominicana Douglas C-47 Skytrain (registered HI-6) crashed into a mountain near Yamasá in bad weather conditions, killing all 30 passengers and two crew members on board, amongst them the baseball team of B.B.C Santiago. The aircraft had been on a scheduled flight from Barahona to Santiago de los Caballeros.[4]
  • On 17 July 1958 at 10:16 UTC, a Curtiss-Wright C-46 Commando cargo aircraft (registered HI-16) operating Dominicana Flight 402 from Ciudad Trujillo (today's Santo Domingo) to Miami crashed shortly after take-off due to an engine problem, killing the two pilots on board.[5]
  • On 23 June 1969 at 15:42 local time, a Dominicana Aviation Traders Carvair cargo aircraft (registered HI-168), which was operating Flight 401 from Miami to Santo Domingo, crashed shortly after take-off from Miami International Airport, killing all four persons on board, as well as six people on the ground. The aircraft had suffered an engine failure during take-off run, on which the pilots were not able to react accordingly.[6][7]
  • On 15 February 1970 at approximately 18:30 local time, a Dominicana McDonnell Douglas DC-9 (registered HI-177) crashed into the sea some 3 kilometres off Santo Domingo, killing all 97 passengers and 5 crew members on board, making it the deadliest accident in the history of the Dominican Republic until the crash of Birgenair Flight 301 in 1996. The aircraft had just departed Las Américas International Airport for a scheduled flight to San Juan, when it suffered a dual engine failure.[8]
  • On 5 September 1993, a Dominicana Boeing 727-200 (registered HI-617CA) was destroyed in a fire at Las Américas Airport. The then 20 years old aircraft had been operating a scheduled flight from San Juan to Santo Domingo carrying 98 passengers and 7 crew members, when the cabin filled with smoke during disembarkation, which was caused by a fire due to electrical overheating. All people involved managed to leave the aircraft before it was completely engulfed by the flames.[9]