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Ephemeris - Centenary of C.E.T.A. First Spanish Mail Transport Airline

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About Ephemeris - Centenary of C.E.T.A. First Spanish Mail Transport Airline

By a Royal Decree of July 5, 1920 (Madrid Gazette of July 8) the first Spanish airlines for the transport of people and mail were established. and the corresponding contests were announced. In view of the situation in the Spanish Protectorate Zone in Morocco, the Government decided to activate the Seville-Larache and Malaga-Melilla lines (the latter remained deserted).

The tender provided for the service to be covered by Spanish companies. Four companies entered the competition. The members of the technical commission formed for this purpose, chaired by Federico Leal, head of the Correos Postal Services together with the engineer Emilio Herrera, the highest aeronautical authority of the time, after various vicissitudes, recommended the award to C.E.T.A. (Spanish Air Traffic Company). C.E.T.A. would start up the line between Seville and Larache on October 15, 1921.

The inauguration took place at the Tablada aerodrome (Seville), where the Archbishop of Seville blessed the three De Havilland DH-9C aircraft and one of them, the registered M-AAAG "Sevilla", made the first flight in which 53 letters, according to the press of the time. The first letter that is known corresponds to the Larache-Seville flight of October 19, 1921 and, as was mandatory, it is franked with 15 cents and the airmail of 50 cents.

The commemorative stamp reproduces this first known letter and, superimposed, an image of the plane that inaugurated the line. Let us point out, as an anecdote, that the stamps that were sent to Larache were soon sold out and that already on October 22 letters were known where the airmail was paid with an airmail stamp of one peseta divided in half, thus serving as two stamps of 50 cents for the payment of this envelope.

The CETA company continued to operate this Seville-Larache line until the end of the 1920s.