AboutThe Consolidated Commodore flying boat was originally designed for naval patrol work but after examining all the valuable choices, Ralph O'Neill realized it was ideal for carrying passengers and mail on NYRBA's east coast route to Buenos Aires. In March 1929, he ordered six Commodores from Consolidated Aircraft, whose owner, Reuben Fleet, was a substantial NYRBA stockholder - or became so as a result of the acquisition. By the time the Commodore went into service on 10 November 1929, the order had been augmented to fourteen.
When Pan American absorbed NYRBA on 15 September 1930, the Commodore fleet (eleven of which were already in service) was an important asset. Some were transferred to the Caribbean and one of them started the Kingston-Barranquilla "cutoff" service on 2 December 1930. The 600-mile segment was probably the longest flown by any airline in the world at that time, and it shortened considerably the journey time from Miami to the Canal Zone.
Although outclassed by the Sikorsky Clipper flying boats during the 1930s, most of the Commodores continued in service for five to seven years, almost entirely in the Caribbean area. One or two found their way to China, to be used by C.N.A.C. Three were re-commissioned when Pan American acquired a 45% interest in Bahamas Airways on 10 December 1943, and the last two of these were finally retired on 19 September 1946, after 16 years of service.