CANCUN, Mexico. — The Spanish airline AIR EUROPA has announced that it will suspend effective April 2013 its flights between Madrid and Cancun. After IBERIA decided to cancel their operations to Uruguay and Cuba, AIR EUROPA increased operations to Havana and Montevideo, plus a new service to La Paz, Bolivia. Pullmantour will be the only carrier offering the non-stop service between Madrid and the Mexican Riviera. In 2012 up to 200,000 Spaniards visited the Mexican Caribbean and it is expected that for 2013 that number can go down to 170,000.
CARACAS, Venezuela. — The Venezuelan flag carrier CONVIASA (Consorcio Venezolano de Industrias Aeronauticas y Servicios Aereos) will start an expansion of routes in the near future. The airline operates a fleet of 14 airliners from its Caracas hub to Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Dominica, Grenada, Spain and Trinidad and Tobago. Future routes includes Nicaragua, Miami, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil and Costa Rica. The airline operated an A-330 from Caracas to Tehran via Damascus, but the flight has been suspended. CONVIASA code shares with Aeroflot, Cubana de Aviacion, Satena and Aerolineas Argentinas.
HAVANA, Cuba. — On February 23rd the Russian Prime Minister Dimitri Medvedev ended his two day visit to Havana, Cuba. Russia signed an agreement with Raul Castro’s government to provide three new airliners for Cubana de Aviacion. The airline is going through a fleet renewal hoping to dispose the last Ilyushin IL-62s and YAK-42s. The new airliners include two Tupolev TU-204s and one Ilyushin IL-96s wide body aircraft. Since the U.S. imposed an embargo to the communist island, Cubana de Aviacion has not been able to operate western airliners, except in the late 1970s when the airline leased a DC-8 from Air Canada. The airliner (CU-T1201) operating flight CU-455 from Barbados to Jamaica was brought down by a terrorist attack on October 6th, 1976. With the new Russian airliners entering the fleet, Cubana de Aviacion expects to start new services to more Latin American cities.
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica. — It is now a common rumor that Southwest Airlines/Air Tran Airways will start flight services to several Latin American cities from their Houston-Hobby airport hub. The first country they are supposedly looking into is Costa Rica. The most popular leisure destination in Central America has two international airports, Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) that services the capital city and Daniel Oduber International Airport (LIR) in Liberia, Guanacaste, the gateway to the “Golden Coast” of Costa Rica. It is expected that SWA will announce the services for the high season of 2013-2014.
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador. — After eighty two years in service in just a couple of months (possibly by the end of May), TACA Airlines (once TACA Airways, TACA International Airlines and GRUPO TACA) will dissapear into the entrails of Colombian flag carrier AVIANCA. In 2009 both airlines created the AviancaTACA Holding Company. For several months airline experts believed the airline would have operated as Air France/KLM, mantaining their individual images, logos, liveries and hubs. But in 2012 the company’s CEO Fabio Villegas informed the TACA branding was being dropped and that the marketing sole name was going to be AVIANCA. It is also expected the end of the use of IATA codes like “TA”, “LR” and “GU” for simply “AV”. TACA was founded in 1931 in Honduras by the New Zealander Lowell Yerex. He later sold the airline to TWA, the latter sold it to Waterman Steamship Company of New Orleans and finally in the 1950s the airline was bought by the Salvadorean Kriete family. Indeed 2013 is the end of an era, Yerex once great airline.
QUITO, Ecuador. — The Ecuadorian flag carrier TAME (Transportes Aereos Militares del Ecuador) is expanding it’s route strudure within South America. The airline now operates flights from Quito and Guayaquil to Bogota, Caracas, Panama and Sao Paulo. Rafael Farias, TAME’s General Manager has informed the airline has plans to start flight operations to Mexico City, San Jose and to New York-JFK with an Airbus A-330 wide body aircraft. After AeroGal (Aerolineas Galapagos) suspended services to the U.S., the Ecuadorian government has been trying to restore the air links between Quito and Guayaquil with New York and Miami.