Table of Contents
- History of TACA Airlines
- Establishment and Early Years
- Price for a
- Growth and Expansion
- TACA Airlines Merging with Avianca Airlines
- TACA Airlines Ownership and Operations
- Recent Notable Achievements by TACA Airlines
- TACA Airlines Fleet Size and Destinations
- TACA Airlines’ Major Accidents
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In the recent years, the aviation brand named the Avianca, or TACA Airlines, has been acknowledged as one of the most reliable airline brands in the Latin American air travel industry. TACA Airlines encompasses all airlines integrated under the Avianca Holdings S.A. Currently, the airline has the biggest market share, having served 24.6 million passengers in 2013. The airline employs a workforce of over 19,000 workers (World Airline News, n.d.). Presently, TACA Airlines is recognized for the world class services it offers to its customers. For a more detailed insight into TACA Airlines, this paper will conduct a detailed research into the history, current position destinations, and major incidents and accidents, which the airline has experienced since its inauguration.
History of TACA Airlines
Since its foundation to date, TACA Airlines has a rich history, which has been characterized by a series of events.
Establishment and Early Years
This was a period between 1931 and 1980. The history of TACA dates back to 1931 when Lowell Yerex started the airline (World Airline News, n.d.). Even though the company had a Stinson plane, the initial operations were successful, and this enabled the airline to expand its operational networks to cover more destinations in America. Then, the airline was operating under the Mexican registration, but was later registered in other countries such as Colombia and Venezuela. Among all the airlines under the TACA name, El Salvador’s TACA is the only one that remains operational while the other component airlines declined and collapsed.
In 1945, the headquarters of TACA Airlines were relocated to San Salvador from New Orleans, a move that came after Yerex’s departure from the company (Airways News, 2015). Here, the company initiated strategies to oversee the growth and upgrading. Through this, TACA Airlines started the investment groups in different countries in Latin America, which were then sold to the local carriers. Later, TACA was transformed to operate internationally as TACA International Airlines with its company headquartered in San Salvador.
In the 1940s, the company acquired the Douglas DC-4 as well as the Douglas DC-3. They were a preference because they were believed to have a higher efficiency owed to their bigger piston engine (Airways News, 2015). Later, the airline initiated the acquisition of turboprop airliners called Vickers Viscount aimed at helping the company operate more extensively and efficiently in the Americas. After successful air operations, the company advanced to the jet age, which was first marked by the acquisition of a BAC One-Eleven jetliner in December 1966 (Clark, 2012). The jetliner was functional until mid-1988; then it was grounded and replaced with a Boeing 737-200, which was more efficient in terms of operations and costs (Airways News, 2015).
Growth and Expansion
The growth years of TACA Airlines were between 1980 and 2009. During this time, the company was primarily held by the Kriete family in El Salvador but based in the United States. Initially, this family owned the minority stock, but eventually purchased all the airline shares. As a part of its growth approach, the fleet, which was its main assets underwent a massive upgrade with the aim of achieving both operational and cost efficiencies. This was evident when the old One-Eleven aircrafts as well as turboprops, which were in operation for a long time, were replaced with new and more efficient aircrafts, namely Boeing 737-400 and Boeing 737-300. These belonged to the Boeing Class Series and were an improvement of the previously used Boeing 737-200 Advanced. In the 1990s, the company underwent further expansion marked by the acquisition of the Airbus A320 in the Latin America. Further, TACA Airlines entered into the alliance with Panama’s Copa Airlines, which enabled it to operate flights to Tocumen International Airport, which became an important hub for connecting flights. Consequently, the air operations were increased in the region as shown by bigger numbers of international scheduled departures and arrivals.
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In 2001, TACA Airlines expanded its network to cover a new destination, Lima, Peru, and which was the first in South America. Consequently, TACA Peru was formed to cover the route in an attempt to serve the Southern region more efficiently. This boosted the airline to have a comprehensive operational network throughout the Americas. In the year 2005, the company contributed massively towards the formation of Volaris, a Mexican Airline. In addition, it was the first Latin American business that started using the Airbus A321, the newly produced Airbus model (Airways News, 2015). In 2008, the airline relocated its headquarters to a new office that was inaugurated soon afterwards. Further, TACA Airlines was the second in Latin America to use the Brazilian-made Embraer E-190.
TACA Airlines Merging with Avianca Airlines
The modernization phase of TACA Airlines was between 2009 and 2012, and was characterized by a merger and new acquisitions. In 2009, in a bid to modernize and improve its operations, the company merged its assets with a Colombian Airline called Avianca to form the AviancaTaca Airlines. Each of the airlines was supposed to maintain its operations and trademarks individually. Together, the airlines jointly ran 130 aircraft flying to more than 100 destinations in the Americas and Europe (BBC News, 2009).
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In 2009, the airline sought to change the long serving Fokker 50 and Fokker 100 aircrafts with the newer models, preferably with a 100 or less seat capacity. Alternatively, the Fokker aircrafts would only operate in short journeys of less than one hour flight time. For the replacement, the Brazilian Embraer, the Airbus A318, and Canada’s Bombardier were considered as viable and more efficient aircraft models (Jones, 2009). The decision was implemented in 2011 when the Fokker 100 aircrafts were grounded and replaced with ten Airbus A318. They were leased from GE Capital Aviation Services, GECAS, a leading commercial aircraft and engine lender and lessor. In an attempt to extend its services further, TACA Airlines ordered 15 ATR 72-600 from ATR, a French-Italian aircraft manufacturer. The order was valued at $700 million and the deliveries were expected to begin in June 2013 and pending to replace the outdated Fokker 50 aircraft (Jones, 2009; Airways News, 2015).
TACA Airlines Ownership and Operations
Synergy Group, with its headquarters in El Salvador is the primary operator of TACA Airlines, which is the national air carrier of El Salvador. Initially, the airline operated as the Transportes Aereos del Continente Americano meaning Central American Air Transport. TACA Airlines is the one of the national airlines forming the Avianca Holdings (TACA Airlines, n.d). TACA Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance Group, and through this membership, the airline has opportunities to reach new destinations worldwide (World Airline News, n.d.). Also, its loyalty program, the LifeMiles, offers a range of benefits and travel options to its more than 5 million listed memberships. The services offered by the airline include cargo and passenger transport, which are made possible by a 44 short, medium, and long haul aircraft fleet (TACA Airlines, n.d.).
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Recent Notable Achievements by TACA Airlines
Starting 2013, TACA Airlines have made notable historic milestones. Firstly, they opened a VIP lounge at the Eldorado International Airport. This aimed to serve the huge populations that pass through the airport during international travels. Secondly, TACA Airlines has successfully made its bond issues valued at US $300 million in the international market through Avianca Holdings (Avianca Holdings S.A., 2015). This was a breakthrough that enabled the airline to enter the international capital markets.
TACA Airlines Fleet Size and Destinations
As of May 2013, TACA Airlines operated a fleet of 44 aircraft, comprising of the Embraer 190, Airbus A321-200, Airbus A320neo, Airbus A320-200, and Airbus A319-100.
The airline serves over 50 destinations in 22 countries (TACA Airlines, n.d.).
TACA Airlines’ Major Accidents
Just like many other airlines around the world, TACA Airlines has had several devastating accidents and incidents, which have significantly affected its operations and caused massive loss of life and property.
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The first notable accident happened on March 5, 1959, and involved a Vickers Viscount YS-09C. The aircraft crashed immediately after the departure from Managua International Airport in Nicaragua. The catastrophe was attributed to the failure of both engines that led to death of all the 19 passengers on-board and irrecoverable damage to the aircraft. In the second position is an accident that happened on 24th May 1988 involving a Boeing 737-300 TACA Flight 110, whose origin was Belize City and scheduled to land in New Orleans (AirSafe.com, 2014). The accident was attributed to a flame-out experienced on both engines. The incident occurred during a heavy downpour of rain and hail when landing, which caused water ingestion into the engines. The plane landed in a grass levee and all the 45 passengers on-board escaped unhurt. The third accident happened on April 5, 1993. It involved a Boeing 767-200, TACA Flight 510. The accident occurred when the plane overran a runway after its brakes failed during a landing at La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City. The runway was flooded during the accident. The 227 passengers on-board were unhurt, but three people on the ground were killed (AirSafe.com, 2014).
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To end with is the catastrophe involving a TACA Flight 390, an Airbus A320. The accident occurred on 30th May 2008, when the aircraft overran wet runway landing at the Toncontín International Airport in Tegucigalpa in Honduras. Five people, including two on the ground, were killed (Palencia, 2008).
TACA Airlines is one of the most successful airlines in the Latin America, being the flag carrier of the republic of El Salvador. The airline is a member of the Sky Team Alliance since mid-2012, and this has been one of the contributors to its successful operations in the recent years. Starting with a single engine Stinson plane, the fleet sizes has in the modern day expanded to 44 aircraft, and upgraded to encompass highly efficient aircraft models such as the Airbus, Boeing, and Embraer. Through its history, the airline has implemented expansion and modernization strategies gradually, seeing it become a recognized brand in the Latin America aviation industry. In its journey, the airline has experienced various accidents and incidents, with the major ones happened in 1959, 1988, 1993, and 2008. Despite this, the airline has continued its services and in the recent years, the airline has been recognized as one of the most reliable airlines in the Latin America, and enjoys many opportunities for growth. The airline still seeks to expand and continue its operations.
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