Taca Airlines

TACA Airlines
Aerovias del Continente Americano S.A.
Founded 1931
Ceased operations 2013 (merged with Avianca)
Secondary hubs
Frequent-flyer program LifeMiles
Airport lounge Salones VIP
Alliance Star Alliance [1]
Fleet size 40
Destinations 50 destinations in 22 countries
Parent company Avianca Holding S.A
Headquarters San Salvador, El Salvador
Key people Fabio Villegas (President)
Roberto Kriete (Chairperson)
Website www.taca.com

Transportes Aereos del Continente Americano, simply known as TACA Airlines operating as Avianca is the flag-carrier of El Salvador and was a trade name brand comprising a group of five independently IATA-coded and -owned Central American airlines, whose operations were combined to function as one and a number of other independently owned and IATA-coded regional airlines which code-shared and fed the TACA Airlines brand system.

TACA was originally an acronym meaning Transportes Aéreos Centroamericanos (Central American Air Transport), but this was changed to Transportes Aéreos del Continente Americano (Air Transport of the American Continent), reflecting its expansion to North, Central, South America and the Caribbean. The airline operated a fleet of 40 aircraft, mostly Airbus A320 aircraft used in most international flights and a smaller fleet of Embraer E-190 for regional flights.

On October 7, 2009, it was announced that Avianca would merge with TACA Airlines but both airlines stated that each would maintain their own identity and operate separately for the moment.[2] TACA Airlines was the second oldest, continuously operating airline in Central America and the Caribbean, after Cubana de Aviacion.


The airlines that made up TACA Airlines were:

TACA Airlines had three flight hubs or "Connection Centers", which are the following:[3]

TACA Airline's former headquarters were in San Salvador, El Salvador.[4]

*The hub in San Jose, Costa Rica has been downgraded to a base of operations following a company restructuring that was announced on May 17, 2013, due to the merger with Avianca.


Inauguration (1931-1980)

TACA was founded in 1931 by New Zealander Lowell Yerex. TACA began operations with a single-engine Stinson plane. Since its beginnings, routes covered all the national territory and its aircraft sported the XH Mexican registration (which were changed later by HR). The idea of its founder was to establish one airline in each Latin-American country, such as Aerovias Brasil in Brazil and other TACAs in Mexico, Venezuela, and Colombia.Out of all the TACA franchise airlines created, only TACA International of El Salvador survived,

As a consequence, in 1945 Yerex left the company and TACA moved its headquarters to the Republic of El Salvador where it was modernized and expanded, the company then established investment groups in other Latin American countries to be sold to domestic airlines, which in the case of Honduras TACA was sold to SAHSA. Later TACA was organized as an international company having its headquarters in San Salvador only under the name of TACA International Airlines.

During the 1940s and 1960's, the airline began to acquire turboprops airliners (such as the Douglas DC-3 and the Vickers Viscount) in order to expand its route network around the Americas.

In 1970, TACA Airlines entered the jet age when it acquired their first jet, A BAC One Eleven (which was a popular airplane at the time with other airlines in Latin America). The aircraft model was used between the 1970s and the early 1980s, when it was phased out in favor of the Boeing 737-200 aircraft.

Expansion Years (1980-2009)

Until 1980, TACA was owned by a United States company and had its corporate headquarters in New Orleans, Louisiana (due to the civil war raging in El Salvador) under the administration of the Kriete Family of El Salvador, who owned a minority stock and ended up buying all the shares.

The airline also made several upgrades in the fleet during the 1980s, by substituting the much older turboprops and One Eleven airliners with more efficient aircraft, such as the 737-300 and Boeing 737-400 of the Boeing 737 Classic series and its predecessor, the Boeing 737-200 Advanced.

Between 1940 and 1995, TACA bought the majority shares of the flag carrier airlines of Guatemala (AVIATECA), Costa Rica (Lacsa), and Nicaragua (NICA), consolidating operations under a new brand name, Grupo TACA.

In the 1990s, TACA Airlines became the launch customer and principal users of the Airbus A320 model in Latin America. These aircraft were substitutes for the aging Boeing 737-200 and the 737-300/-400 series aircraft that were on the fleet, which were gradually retired until 1999.

In 1992, TACA signed a strategic alliance with Panama-based Copa Airlines, and the airline began flying to Tocumen International Airport, making it the first flight connection center in Latin America. As a consequence, Tocumen airport became the "Hub of the Americas" and the integration of several Latin American airlines to the alliance, such as LACSA, Aviateca, and NICA took place. The alliance ended in 1998 after the six-year period established in the agreement expired.

Then in 2001, having its main hubs in San Salvador, El Salvador, and San Jose, Costa Rica, the airline set an operations base at Lima, Peru, its first base in South America, causing as a consequence the founding of TACA Peru, of which TACA had 49% shares at. With this new addition, Grupo TACA began to offer a comprehensive network of routes throughout the Americas.

In 2005, TACA Airlines was one of the founding members of the Mexican airline Volaris. In the same year, TACA became the first airline of Latin America to operate the largest version of the A320: the Airbus A321.

The year 2008 was a year of big expansion for TACA Airlines, since Roberto Kriete and the board of directors decided to revert to the original name, TACA International Airlines (since the consolidation of the acquired airlines was completed), and the airline' headquarters returned to San Salvador, El Salvador to a new building which was inaugurated shortly afterwards. Also, it revealed a renovation in its corporate image.

That same year, TACA became the second user of the Brazilian Embraer E-190 in Latin America.

AviancaTaca and Modernization (2009-2012)

In October 2009, it was announced that TACA Airlines would merge its assets in a strategic alliance with Colombian airline Avianca, in which case each will maintain its own trademark and operations. Avianca and TACA Airlines currently operate a combined fleet of 129 aircraft, serving over 100 destinations in several countries in America and Europe.[5] In December 2009 approval for the merger was given by the Colombian Civil Aeronautical Agency.[6] The merger of Colombia's Avianca and El Salvador-based TACA is the latest sign that consolidation in the Latin American airline sector is picking up.

In November 2009, the airline's Chief Executive Fabio Villegas announced that the airline is looking to replace its Fokker 50 and Fokker 100 aircraft with newer aircraft of 100 seats or less. The 10 Fokker 50s and 15 Fokker 100s were operated on flights shorter than one and a half hours.

Brazil's Embraer, Canada's Bombardier Aerospace, and the Airbus A318 were being considered for the replacement.[7]

In December 2010, the airline made the decision to retire the Fokker 100 aircraft in 2011 and replace them with 10 Airbus A318 leased from GECAS from 2011-2018. The aircraft were delivered during January to February 2011.

In December 2012, the airline made an firm order to ATR for 15 ATR 72-600 aircraft with a total value of 700 million dollars and the deliveries will start on June 2013.[8] The purpose of this purchase is to remplace the aging Fokker 50 aircraft.

Star Alliance (2010-2012)

On November 10, 2010, Star Alliance announced that Avianca and its subsidiary TACA Airlines were to become full members in mid-2012. Because of Avianca's entry into Star Alliance, it stopped its codeshare agreement with Delta Air Lines in March 2011 and began a new codeshare agreement with United Airlines.

Merger and Controversy in Costa Rica (2012-2013)

On October 10, 2012, it was reported in a press conference that the trade name TACA Airlines was going to disappear from the public eye and the promotion and marketing strategies were going to be owned by Avianca, according to representatives of the group that controls the brand. The Avianca-Taca's CEO, Fabio Villegas, explained that the use of the single brand for the group would occur in the first half of 2013.[9]

On May 18, 2013, the Avianca-Taca Holding group downgraded the Juan Santamaría International Airport Hub in San José, Costa Rica to a base of operations following a company restructuring due to the merger. This includes the discontinuation of more than five non-stop flights made by the airline to and from San Jose, including flights to all cities in the United States. As consequence, more than 200 employees lost their jobs (equivalent to 20% of the work force of the airline). This has led to a controversy in Costa Rica, and an extensive investigation by the civil aviation authorities of that country against the holding company, which is actually in progress.[10][11][12]

Corporate Affairs

At one time TACA Airlines had its headquarters in the Edificio Caribe.[13]


TACA Airlines served a total of 50 destinations around the world in its 82 years of operation around North and Latin American countries.


As of May 2013, the TACA Airlines fleet consisted of the following aircraft with an average age of 5.4 years:[14][15][16]

Aircraft In Service Orders Options Passengers Notes
C Y Total
Airbus A319-100 9 2 12 108 120
Airbus A320-200 19 24 12 138 150
Airbus A320neo[17] 33
The orders were transferred to Avianca.
Airbus A321-200 5 12 182 194
Embraer 190 12 1 15 8 88 96
Total 44 60 15

Historic Fleet

TACA Airlines has operated the following types:

Reciprocal Frequent-Flyer Agreements

LifeMiles was TACA Airline's frequent-flyer program from 2009 to 2013, because of the merger with Avianca. It replaced the old "Distancia" program.[23]

In addition to earning miles on TACA Airlines and TACA Airlines Regional flights, TACA Airlines had partnerships with the following airlines:

Accidents and incidents


External links

El Salvador portal
New Orleans portal
Companies portal
  • Grupo TACA
  • TACA Regional
  • Aeroman
  • Tus Sentidos
  • LifeMiles
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.