Serviços Aéreos Portugueses Limitada – SAP (1927-1945)

By: Rob Mulder

In 1922 the Junkers Flugzeugwerk AG already made its first attempt to enter the Portuguese market, when it offered the Companhia Portuguesa de Navegação Aerea Lda Junkers Type F (J 13) against 50% of their value. A first sight of a Junkers-aircraft in Portugal did not occur until November 1925, when the Swedish registered Junkers G 24, S-AAAY visited Lisboa. The visit was in 1927 followed by the foundation of an airline company in Portugal by Junkers.

The Serviços Aéreos Portugueses Lda, known as SAP, has been founded on May 19, 1927 with a stock capital of Esc 50,000 supplied by private persons. In the race to obtain the official landing rights in Portugal and its overseas areas and full governmental financial support the stock capital was on May 4, 1929 increased to Esc 1,000,000 (the same amount as the foundation capital of the competing French-Portuguese airline company SPELA – Sociedade Portuguesa de Estudos de Linhas Aéreas Limitada!). Junkers Flugzeugwerk AGJfa supplied 49% directly and 51% through straw men. With four straw men Jfa had agreed upon so-called Treuhandverträge. The stock capital was officially supplied by

Jfa, Dessau                                                        Esc  490,000

Antonio Alberto d’Eca de Queiroz              Esc  302,000

J. Wimmer & Co.                                             Esc  107,500

Willi Albert Grote                                           Esc         500

Josée Vieira de Fonseca                                 Esc  100,000

Object of the company was to represent Jfa in Portugal and take care of the agency for the scheduled Lisboa – Madrid air service.

Information with regarding to the fleet of SAP indicate that the company operate three Junkers F 13s and two Junkers G 24s, but this is false, as all these aircraft were part of the Junkers-affiliated Spanish airline company Union Aérea Espanola – UAE. The services were operated until April 30, 1928 with SAP acting general sales agent in Portugal. On March 13, 1928 the Spanish airline company UAE merged with the Aero Hispania to form CLASSA. Although the service between Madrid and Sevilla was reopened on May 27, 1929, the Portuguese service was suspended pending completion of negotiations on an Air Agreement between Portugal and Spain.

First aircraft delivered

In May 1929 the Portuguese company finally received its first aircraft. Of course it came from the Jfa and was a Junkers F 13 that was allotted the registration C-PAAC (c/n 2042) and christened Lisboa. The Portuguese pilot Amado de Cunha started on June 10, 1929 with joy-riding flights out of Lisboa, which he continued to do so throughout the year. In the first two month he flew 89 passengers. Totally, SAP carried that year 1,026 passengers during 347 flights. Its Junkers F 13 flew 20,605 km and made 146 flying-hours.

Due to the uncertain situation in Spain and Portugal, SAP was not able to fly any service during the period 1930-1936. The Junkers F 13 returned to Sweden in July 1930.

By 1936 a report mentioned the delivery of a Junkers Ju-52/3m, but so far no registration, construction number or photographic evidence has been found. In 1937 the German airline company Deutsche Lufthansa AG – DLH bought the SAP-shares from Jfa. The stock capital was used up and regarded as lost, but there were other reasons for this political take-over. The reasons were:

1. Because there was a danger, that Deutsche Lufthansa AG (according to the Portuguese law) had to form a branch office if it wanted to open an air service via Portugal. DLH planned its North Atlantic service via Portugal and the Azores Islands.

2. Because an assessment could be expected from the Portuguese tax officer and the company was not interested in having its books checked.

3. Because the French-Portuguese airline company Aero-Portuguezes had been awarded an airmail concession only when it was able to work together on this service with a Portuguese owned airline company.

4. Because the name Serviços Aéreos Portugueses Lda – SAP was an established name within Portugal. A new company would have to start all over again.

As mentioned before, during the period 1930-36 70% of the stock capital was lost, so first of all DLH started with a reconstruction of the company. The capital was reduced to Esc. 200,000 and now DLH supplied Esc 98,000 and again through straw men the remaining Esc 102,000. They were:

Josée Vieira da Fonseca                                 Esc 20,000

Antonio Alberto d’Eca de Quiroz                Esc 20,000

J. Wimmer & Co.                                             Esc 40,000

Count Baroldingen                                         Esc 20,000

Dr. Bonhoeffer                                                 Esc  2,000

Deutsche Lufthansa AG delivered the capital. Already in 1929 the stock capital was to be increased as soon as possible to Esc 25,000,000, but this was never realised, due to the dispute between the Spanish and Portuguese Government on the issue of services between the two nations.

Among SAPs owners was the firm J Wimmer & Co. This was a German firm in Portugal, of which its Director possessed the Portuguese nationality. Antonio Alberto d’Eca de Quiroz was Director at the Ministry of Propaganda in Portugal and Josée Vieira da Fonseca was the aide-de-camp of the Prime Minister of the Portugal, Antonio de Oliviera Salazar. President of the Board of Directors was J Wimmer and directors were Vieira da Fonseca and Count Baroldingen. Main object of the company was acting general sales agent for Deutsche Lufthansa AG and to lobby with the Portuguese Government when a concession for the North Atlantic route was to be awarded.

But the company cost the Germans dearly. A financial review at the end of this chapter shows the subsidy Deutsche Lufthansa AG had to give to the Portuguese daughter company in order to keep it alive. In 1943 Deutsche Lufthansa AG decided not to pay any subsidy to the SAP, as the danger was there that tax had to be paid over the profit. The company registered therefore a loss in 1943. The income existed during those years out of commission received on the sales of tickets in Portugal. The SAP never opened any services nor did it possess any aircraft during that period.

The results over the last two years are unknown and the company stopped its work after the departure of the last DLH-aircraft from Portugal and Spain in April 1945. After the war the company was dissolved.

Picture of the Junkers F 13, C-PAAC “Lisboa” was supplied by Julían Oller from