Airmail service from the Canal Zone demonstrated a high level of reliability and customer acceptance during its first months. In response, the Canal Zone Postal Service began planning in late 1929 for a permanent series featuring similarly designed stamps for commonly used airmail rates. Administrative and production hurdles having been overcome by late 1931, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, D.C., shipped supplies of 5-cent, 10-cent, 15-cent, 20-cent, 40-cent, and 1-dollar stamps to the Canal Zone.
The design chosen has an interesting history. The airplane denoting airmail service bears a fully-intended resemblance to Lindbergh's "Spirit of St. Louis" which he actually flew to the Isthmus of Panama in 1928. In reality, however, the initial airmail service was carried out using flying boats. The symbol of Lindbergh flying over the Gaillard Cut of the Panama Canal at the Continental Divide provided a powerful symbol of the new service, one that was deemed fully adequate for over twenty years. This depiction of the Gaillard Cut became the name by which this extended series is referred to even to this day.