Watch out, LAN. There’s going to be another Latin mega-carrier now that Avianca and TACA have decided to come together to form . . . AVIANCTACA? Ok, they’re not going that far. In fact, the brands will stay separate, but this is an interesting development in Latin America.
Avianca is based in Bogota, Colombia, and it traces its routes to SCADTA, an airline founded in 1919. That makes Avianca one of the oldest airlines in the world. Of course, it has had its ups and downs with management changes and insolvency. In recent years, it has seemed to regain solid footing under its latest ownership group, Synergy Group. This group also owns AeroGal and VIP in Ecuador along with OceanAir in Brazil.
On the other side, we have TACA, the group formed by Central American carriers TACA (El Salvador), NICA (Nicaragua), LACSA (Costa Rica), and Aviateca (Guatemala). They also started TACA Peru in the last few years.
So now the airlines are coming together to form a mega-carrier covering much of Latin America. The plan is to keep separate brands but consolidate management. Yes, it’s the Republic Airways of South America.
It looks like the senior management team will be shuffled between the two carriers. I don’t know a lot about Avianca’s team, but if they’re smart, they’ll make sure that TACA’s team sticks around. They have a very bright group of people over there and they’ve done a fantastic job with that airline group.
What this means for customers is still not clear. Avianca recently resumed its codeshare with Delta, but it also partners with Star-carrier Air Canada and oneworld-carriers Iberia and Mexicana. Meanwhile, TACA has been aligning itself with Star Alliance carriers, though it has yet to officially join. So will this new airline come together and move into a single alliance? It definitely won’t be oneworld with LAN a member, but the others could be up for grabs if they so chose. Regardless, this does create a fairly formidable presence throughout Latin America.