SAN JOSE, Costa Rica–The recently formed Costa Rican airline, Ticos Air, is searching for personnel to fill several administrative and technical posts. Marketing Manager Daniel Gil said the new company plans to hire 120 employees, who will join 22 current workers to launch the airline’s operations. Gil said the company expects to begin operating its first flights in early 2014.Ticos Air provided the Civil Aviation Administration in Costa Rica (DGAC in spanish) with the required documentation for operating permits last June. The airline will operate five Airbus 319 aircraft, and the first destinations are Mexico City, Caracas, New York and Miami.The company formed in December 2012, and has since been establishing offices in San José, hiring workers, buying planes, and conducting other preparations. TACA Airlines’ decision last May to drop five non-stop flights to Costa Rica from the United States and other countries created a market opportunity for Ticos Air and other international airlines. TACA Airlines also laid off 261 employees (pilots, flight attendants and operations) from its Costa Rica operations as part of an integration process with Colombian flag carrier airline Avianca. The airline’s website, www.ticosair.com, is currently under construction. Ticos Air will try to fill the vacuum left after the demise of Aero Costa Rica S.A. in 1997 and the full absortion of LACSA by TACA Airlines and later in 2009 by Avianca. The airline will use Juan Santamaria International Airport as its hub but it is also expected the airline will operate to Liberia International Airport in Guanacaste.
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica–December 30th. At the age of 92 years, Captain Otto Escalante Wiepking died, closing a golden chapter of the Costa Rican Civil Aviation. He was only seven years old when Charles Lindbergh visited Costa Rica in the “Spirit of St. Louis” and since then he knew deep inside his life would be connected with aviation. In 1939 a young Otto Escalante graduates from highschool and a year later starts working for TACA Costa Rica in the cargo department. Once the United States joins the Allies in the Second World War, the American pilots flying in Latin America were all requested to join the armed forces, opening the possibilities for young latin men to become commercial pilots. Otto Escalante travels to the U.S. and in a year becomes a commercial pilot. Escalante showed such professionalism, the United States Government gave him a scholarship at the Sky Harbour School of Aeronautics in Phoenix, Arizona. He returned to Costa Rica and works in several airlines like TACA Costa Rica and AVO. On March 12th 1948 he travels to Guatemala with Captain Guillermo Nuñez, flying two Douglas DC-3s. A day after Escalante and Nuñez returned to Costa Rica, the DC-3s heavy full of weapons and ammunition for Jose Figueres Ferrer’s National Liberation Army. In 1949 Otto Escalante returned to flag carrier LACSA and in 1960 he is appointed General Manager for the airline. Captain Escalante flew LACSA’s first jet in April 1967, a BAC-111-400 named “El Tico” and he kept working as a pilot until 1972 when he became CEO and President of the Board of Directors. Otto Escalante also founded Cayman Brac Airways (later Cayman Airways Ltd.) as a subsidiary of LACSA and was also SANSA’s President until he retired in 1989. Captain Escalante also served as a consultant for Aero Costa Rica S.A. (the other national airline that operated from 1992 to 1997). Today a great chapter of the civil aviation in this small nation is closed with a golden seal, that of a pioneer indeed.
SAN SALVADOR,El Salvador–El Salvador International Airport (also known as Comalapa International Airport) will be upgraded in the next years to become the most important connecting hub north of Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport. The government office that handles the international terminal, CEPA (Comision Ejecutiva Portuaria Autonoma) is reaching an agreement with the State of Maryland that will support the development of several projects that include the construction of new terminals and the revamping of the existing one. On December 9th the Governor of Maryland Martin O’Malley and the President of CEPA Alberto Arene signed a MOW in San Salvador. Avianca Airlines (former TACA Airlines) closed its Costa Rica hub last May and transferred most of the flight operations to Comalapa International Airport. The new start-up LCC airline VECA Airways has also chosen Comalapa International Airport as its home base. The new Salvadorian carrier will start services in 2014 between San Salvador and all the Central American capitals with two Airbus A-320s.
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica–AviancaTACA announced today the cancellation of five flights to the San Jose hub: Los Angeles, New York-JFK, Havana, Monterrey, Quito and Guayaquil. Effective tomorrow passengers will need to use the El Salvador or Bogota hubs when flying from any of these cities (except Monterrey that is being totally cancelled). The Costa Rican airline LACSA started a flight connection hub in the late 1970s that included flights from Miami, New Orleans, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York-JFK and Toronto. After the merger with TACA some of these cities were cancelled transfering the operations to El Salvador. WIth the merger of TACA and Avianca of Colombia, the Costa Rican hub will be minimized transfering most of the non-stop flights to El Salvador, Bogota and Lima.
MEXICO CITY, Mexico. — The Mexican LCC Volaris celebrated its 7th birthday with a participation of the 22.1% of the market. Since its creation in 2006, Volaris has transported a total of 27,838,365 passengers. The airlines’ CEO, Enrique Beltranena remembered the low cost airline started with two Airbuses leased from TACA Airlines, from Toluca Airport in Mexico City to Tijuana and seven years later the carrier has 43 airliners and operates to 40 cities in Mexico and the United States. The airline is also well known as the most “cyber savvy” in Mexico with 527,971 followers in Facebook, 323,987 in Twitter and 80,200 in Google. The airline has a code-sharing agreement with the LCC Southwest Airlines and also with the German airline Condor. Volaris is owned by the Salvadoran Kriete Family (co-owners of TACA), the invest fund Discovery Americas and Indigo Partners (a fund led by the former CEO of America West, B. Franke). Volaris will be the second airline (after Avianca) to operate in Latin America the modern Airbus A-320s with “Sharklets”.
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.