Paraguay Table of Contents
Air transport, like the country's road system, was still inadequate in the late 1980s but had grown considerably over the previous two decades. Estimates of the country's total number of airports were as high as 700. There were, however, only 400 registered airports, virtually all of which used dirt or grass runways. Few airports were used commercially and on a regular basis. The airports of several medium-sized cities, such as Concepción, Filadelfia, Encarnación, and Pilar, needed improved paving and lighting for runways.
In the late 1980s, Paraguay's only all-weather airports were at Asunción--which handled all international flights--and Mariscal Estigarribia. In April 1987, construction began on a second allweather , international airport at Puerto Presidente Stroessner. Construction of the airport was undertaken by a Spanish firm using Japanese equipment and financing. The high cost of the project-- upwards of US$100 million--and the prominent role of Japanese consultants and equipment stirred controversy.
Paraguay was one of the last countries in the Western Hemisphere to establish commercial air service. The first service was offered in 1929 by an Argentine firm, and not until 1938 was regular air service available. The country's international flag carrier was Paraguayan Airlines (Líneas Aéreas Paraguayas--LAP). Government owned and under the administrative control of the air force, LAP carried approximately 70 percent of the country's air passengers in the late 1980s. The air force's Military Air Transport (Transporte Aéreo Militar) and the National Transport Airlines (Líneas Aéreas de Transporte Nacional) offered domestic service. Numerous foreign carriers also serviced the country: Braniff, Eastern, Varig (Brazil), Iberia (Spain), Aerolíneas Argentinas, LAN-Chile, and Bolivian Airlines being among them.
Data as of December 1988