Aug. 1, 1931: The first commercial air passenger service at Stroudwater Airport – now Portland International Jetport – begins with a Boston-Maine Airways flight from Boston.

Boston-Maine is one of two carriers to start serving Maine that day. Its flights leave Boston and land in succession in Portland, Rockland and Bangor.

The company operates two round-trip flights daily on that route, with an additional round trip only between Boston and Portland.

The other company is Pan American Airways, which operates an international run from Boston to Calais; Saint John, New Brunswick; and Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The Portland Press Herald describes the start of the services as “marking the greatest event in the history of passenger railroading in New England,” which seems odd from a 21st-century vantage point. But the paper explains that Boston-Maine Airways is a subsidiary of the Boston and Maine and Maine Central railroads.

None of those companies is in business today. But although Pan American collapses in 1991 as a business, Guilford Transportation Industries buys the right to use the name in 1998 and renames its rail assets Pan American Railways.

1939 or 1940: Portland Municipal Airport runway and terminal, from southwest. Portland Press Herald photo courtesy Portland Public Library Special Collections and Archives MeBi

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Joseph Owen is an author, retired newspaper editor and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. Owen’s book, “This Day in Maine,” can be ordered at To get a signed copy use promo code signedbyjoe at checkout. Joe can be contacted at: [email protected]


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