The Philippines First Commercial Air Line – PATCO (Philippine Aerial Taxi Company) “The Mile High Line” (1930”s)

(Source: American Historical Collection at Ateneo University)

The 1920’s saw the beginnings of commercial aviation in America and Europe. In 1930 a group of Manila businessmen organized the Philippines First Commercial Carrier. Main financial backers were Don Andres Soriano President of San Miguel Brewery, Bill Shaw President of leading building company AG&P and Emil Bacharach, founder of the first automobile dealership (Ford)

The fledgling airline, named PATCO (Philippine Aerial Taxi Co) planned to fly daily the Manila-Baguio and Manila-Paracale (Camarines Norte) routes. Main target market was gold mining men working sites in Northern Luzon and Paracale. A secondary market was tourists’ intent on visiting the Baguio hill station. Toward this purpose PATCO imported three Bellanca “Sky Rocket” aircraft made in America. The “Sky Rocket” was a rugged utility plane in use by the US Navy and Marine Corps. The single engine craft accommodated five passengers and cruised at a speed of 130 mph. A Main Base was set up at Grace Park North of Manila. Known as “Manila-North Field”. It became the City’s first commercial airport. Loakan Field, close to the Philippine Military Academy, was the Baguio terminus. In case of foul weather planes could land at a secondary strip in Naguilian. Flight to Baguio cost 25 pesos (one way) and took one hour. Charter flights to other Philippine Cities were available on request.

PATCO did not survive the decade. The mining boom faded in the late 1930’s. Vital passenger traffic dropped. PATCO stopped operations in 1939. . But in 1940 it was resurrected by Don Andres Soriano as Philippine Air Lines.

This post features excerpts from a 1936 PATCO’s marketing brochure. PATCO “The Mile High Line”. BB

Download PATCO’s Marketing Brochure