CUENCA DIGESTNational airlines add new aircraft and routes; AeroCuenca begins service in September, including flights to Loja

Aug 9, 2009

Airlines flying Ecuador’s national routes have announced plans to purchase new aircraft. The purchases are partly the result of a presidential order, issued in April, that airlines improve service and safety.

According to the government, passenger air miles have grown 12% a year between 2000 and 2009, with the number of passengers flying rising from 1.2 million to 3 million during that period.

Tame, Aerogal, Icarus and Lan, the major airlines serving the country, all plan to add new aircraft.

Aerogal says it is adding two new Boeing and five Airbus aircraft by the end of the year. The airline, which began flying an Ecuador to Miami route earlier this year, said it has invested more than $70 in the new planes. Aerogal, which has a fleet of 11 aircraft, plans to add a Quito to New York route by the end of the year.

Tame, which has a fleet of eight aircraft, says it will pay $120 million to obtain four Airbus aircraft in a lease – purchase arrangement. The airline recently announced that it will add a flight to Sao Paulo, Brazil before 2010. Tame has also signed an agreement with Lan to fly to the Galapagos.

Lan Ecuador, which began in-country flights between Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca in March, says it will add one aircraft to its fleet.

Struggling Icaro airline, which has been fighting off bankruptcy since late 2008, has leased four Boeing aircraft for $5 million. The airline says it will resume service to four destinations, including Cuenca that it dropped in late 2008.


AERO CUENCA TO BEGIN NEW FLIGHTS IN SEPTEMBER, INCLUDING CUENCA TO LOJA SERVICE

Cuenca air passengers will have more flights to choose from, come September. Locally based AeroCuenca has announced plans to begin operations September 16 with flights to Quito, Guayaquil and Loja. The airline will operate 30-passenger Embraer 145 aircraft. Flight schedules have yet to be determined, but will be announced by the end of August. The Cuenca to Loja service is the first in more than six years, since Tame discontinued its service between the two cities.

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