- SAM Colombia
airline = SAM
Sociedad Aeronáutica de Medellín
logo_size = 145
fleet_size = See "Avianca"
destinations = See "Avianca"
IATA = MM
ICAO = SAM
callsign = SAM
October 6, 1945
hubs = El Dorado Int'l Airport,
Jose Maria Cordova International Airport
frequent_flyer = AviancaPlus
lounge = Avianca VIP lounges
website = [http://www.avianca.com/ www.avianca.com]
acronym: "Sociedad Aeronáutica de Medellín") is an airlinebased at El Dorado International Airportin Bogotá, Colombia. It is operating domestic and international routes and is a subsidiary airline of Avianca.
Completely surrounded by mountains, the city of
Medellínhas been a figurative island for most of its history. During the 40s a group of entrepreneurs began to promote the idea of providing the city with an air transportation system that would connect it with the rest of the country and the world. The axis Medellín- Puerto Berríowas sufficiently dynamic that the idea was discussed in entrepreneurial circles of both cities and in October 1945, at the 3rd Notary Public’s Office, a deed incorporating "Sociedad Aeronáutica de Medellín S.A." was recorded.
Thanks to this entrepreneurial spirit
Medellínbecame a city with an airline, although it was still on paper. It was in the minds of its first partners and promoters, the eventual founders: Luis Coulson, Gilberto Escobar, Julián Restrepo, Joaquín Londoño, and Gustavo Correa who, from the beginning of 1946 began to bring their dream to fruition. A corporation was created with 15,000 shares, at 10 pesos each. Subscription totalled Col.$150,000, of which Col.$50,000 was from 5,000 publicly purchased shares, and the remaining 10,000 shares purchased by the Board of Directors.
The promoters gained a valuable ally in the person of Captain Denis Powelson, expert in the aircraft world market, enthusiast, in love with the country and an explorer of its infinite possibilities. The Company had originally intended to acquire small
aircraft, but the concept changed and grew: There would be long-range aircraft to secure the cargo market to and from Miami. The DC-3, type C-47 aircraft arrived in October 1946. SAM was no longer the dream of a few and became a community reality. The first aircraft of the airlinedeparted from Las Playas Airport in Medellínheading to Miamiin the midst of much celebration. It was the HK 500, piloted by Powelson himself with a three and a half ton cargo capacity.
In the second year of activities, SAM’s wings grew and began to embrace the world of the nearest
Colombian cities with flights to Bogotá, Bucaramanga, Planeta Ricaand Barranquilla. The airline grew quickly. Industrial and commercial activity increased to the point that in 1950 the fleet comprised 18 cargo aircraft and the destinations were now far afield. SAM’s aircraft flew to and from Panama; San Juan de Puerto Rico; Limaand Talarain Peru; Kingston in Jamaica; Caracasand Maracaiboin Venezuela; La Habanain Cuba; Managuain Nicaragua; Quitoin Ecuador; Curaçao; Guatemala; Mexico; Santiago de Chile; and Manausin Brazil.
Having proved its efficiency in air transportation and establishing the routes that put an end to the isolation of
Medellínand Colombia, in 1958 SAM decided to begin carrying passengers. Passenger air service began with one DC-3and a C-46, and one of the early milestones was San Andres, where it was the first airlineto provide service to the island. Two years later the first Douglas DC-4was added to the fleet with a capacity of 65 passengers, but it was in 1970 that SAM became notable for inaugurating the Jet-Prop era in Colombia.
By then, the domestic and international
airline, through its routes had become truly Colombian which was reflected in its ownership. The Santo Domingo Grouphad provided broader capital to enable accelerated modernisation and expanded market share.
With the introduction to service of the Lockheed Electra, expansion into
Central Americawas made possible and service to Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemalaand Costa Ricabegan. The Company then modernised with the B727. Subsequently, the fleet was made up of British Aerospace RJ-100, De Havilland Canada Twin Otter, and Cessna Grand Caravanaircraft. With these modern aircraft SAM united the most important cities of the country ( Medellín, Bogotá, Cali, Barranquilla, Pereira, Montería, Valledupar, Cartagena, Santa Marta, Riohacha, Cúcuta, Leticia, and Quibdó), as well as several regional destinations ( San Andrés, Providencia, Capurganá, Bahía Solano, Caucasia, Puerto Berrío, Chigorodó, and Nuquí) as well as a number of international destinations ( Aruba, Guatemala City, San José de Costa Rica, Panama, Quito, Caracas, and Curaçao).
At present, SAM maintains its operations as a subsidiary of
Avianca, the national airlineof Colombia.
: "Main article: Avianca - Fleet - Current"
Accidents and incidents
May 19, 1993– "SAM Colombia Flight 505", a Boeing 727, en route from Panama City, Panama, to Medellín, hit Mt. Paramo de Frontino at 12,300 ft. while on approach to José María Córdova International Airport(MDE). The aircraft descended into mountainous terrain before actually reaching the Abejorral non-directional beacon. The VHF omnidirectional range/ distance measuring equipment(VHF/DME) had been sabotaged by terrorists and was not in service. All 132 passengers (including a group of Panamanian dentists on their way to a convention) were killed.
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