New airline with an old name could revitalize Ecuador air connections

Sep 29, 2020 | 12 comments

By Daniel Martínez Garbuno

Ecuatoriana de Aviación is a former airline that ceased operations in 2006, but now it is trying to revive under the brand Ecuatoriana Airlines and launch its operations in the first quarter of 2021. Little has been published on the subject, as the plans are relatively recent, but we have an update on the future of Ecuatoriana.

Ecuador is the sixth-largest aviation market in South America. Avianca and LATAM are the most important airlines in the country. Before the current pandemic, the country had a state-owned airline, TAME, which ceased TAME’s operations a few months ago.

Before TAME, Ecuatoriana de Aviación was the major airline in Ecuador. It was like Varig in Brazil or Mexicana in Mexico. Unfortunately, it ceased operations in 2006, leaving a significant gap in Ecuador’s connectivity. Before disappearing, it flew from Quito and Guayaquil to Miami, Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago in the US. It also connected Ecuador with the Bahamas, Mexico, Panama, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Chile, and Argentina.

Despite not operating for almost 15 years, the Ecuatoriana brand still lives on in the country. That’s why a group of investors in the United States and Ecuador has decided to relaunch the project. In a statement seen by Simple Flying, the Ecuatoriana Airlines team said. “The project was born in July 2013 as an idea of its founders, which materialized in November 2019 when the airline was established as a Sociedad Anónima (SA) in Ecuador.”

Additionally, the management of the company said that Ecuatoriana is an iconic and emblematic name. It added “our research has proven still has a lot of goodwill and easily recognized. It’s an airline that was beloved by many that flew on Ecuatoriana. Very similar to Mexicana De Aviación.”

On the August 31, Ecuatoriana obtained its operating permit from the National Civil Aviation Council of Ecuador (CNAC).

In May, the Ecuadorian government announced the elimination of seven public companies, including TAME. In the five previous years, the airline had lost over $400 million. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) also suspended TAME from its Clearing House due to a lack of payment.

The sudden disappearance of TAME and the resurgence of Ecuatoriana led some to believe that the two carriers were connected, somehow. Nevertheless, Ecuatoriana Airlines is trying to put these rumors to rest. The company is legally registered in Ecuador, and it is trying to incorporate as a C Corporation in the US. It added that, “Ecuatoriana Airlines is not involved with the Ecuadorian government, nor TAME EP, nor does it have ties to any political party.” The investment is private, it clarified.

Ecuatoriana Airlines plan to connect the country’s domestic market by reopening destinations and unattended routes. It will also add frequencies to existing destinations and operate new routes never previously served. Its objective is to “stimulate the economy with trade and tourism, as well as generate job opportunities directly and indirectly.”

The airline plans to operate in the first quarter of 2021, it told Simple Flying. The reborn airline requested the CNAC authorize 29 routes from seven cities. It plans to focus on Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca but will also provide service to Santa Rosa, Esmeralda, Manta and Loja.

Ecuatoriana would have 11 routes from Quito with up to 68 frequencies per week. It would have four routes from Guayaquil, three from Cuenca, three from Esmeralda, three from Manta, three from Loja, and two from Santa Rosa.

When it filed for its AOC, the airline said it could use a fleet of:

  1. Beechcraft B1900C
  2. ATR 42-500
  3. Dash 8-Q200
  4. Airbus A220-100
  5. Airbus A319
  6. Boeing 737 Classic series

About the future of its fleet, the management of Ecuatoriana said to Simple Flying, “We are currently evaluating several aircraft types, we will however, start operations with a turboprop and eventually move into larger aircrafts as operations see fit.”

Credit: Simple Flying