1948: Argentina Gets a New Airport

October 11, 1948

Capitán Vicente Almandos Almonacid Airport in La Rioja Province in western Argentina was officially opened. This airport serves as the principal one for that province. Capitán Vicente Almandos Almonacid Airport is specifically located in the northeastern part of the city of La Rioja, which is the capital of the province sharing its name.

This airport was named after one of Argentina’s leading aviation pioneers. Vicente Almandos Amlonacid (1882-1953), who was born in the municipality and village of Anguinán in La Rioja Province, distinguished himself during World War I as a pilot for the French Army’s aviation unit Service Aéronautique (now an independent military branch known as the French Air and Space Force).

Almonacid’s trailblazing contributions included helping to establish and manage one of Argentina’s earliest airlines. This enterprise, Aeroposta Argentina S.A., began operations in 1927 as a subsidiary of the French airmail carrier Aéropostale and was the precursor of present-day Aerolineas Argentinas S.A. (Argentina’s flag carrier and largest airline). In addition, Alomonacid was the first person to cross the Andes by air at night.

The first flight out of Capitán Vicente Almandos Almonacid Airport on the day of its opening was a British-built Vickers VC.1 Viking twin-engine plane owned and operated by the state-owned airline Lineas Aéreas del Estaado (LADE). The route for this flight connected the city of La Rioja with Argentina’s capital of Buenos Aires. The interim stops along that route were Rio Cuarto, a city in Córdoba Province; San Luis, the capital city of Sa Luis Province; Santa Rosa, the capital city of La Pampa Province; and Córdoba, the capital city of Córdoba Province.

Several key additions have been made to Capitán Vicente Almandos Almonacid Airport in the time since its inauguration. The first terminal for this airport was built in 1951, for example, and in 1969 the grass runway was replaced with an asphalt version that remains in service today. In 1978, a larger terminal was opened along with a 70-car parking lot. This airport is one of 35 Argentine airports now operated by the Buenos Aires-based company Aeropuertos Argentina 2000 S.A.

(The above photo of the main section of the current terminal at Capitán Vicente Almandos Almonacid Airport was taken in 2017.)

Photo Credit: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en

Additional information on airports in Argentina is available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_airports_in_Argentina

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