Ecuador’s troubled public airline Tame has announced the suspension of flights to Bogota and Lima. In a press release, the airline said it would refocus its efforts on in-country routes, especially between Quito, Guayaquil, Cuenca, Manta and Loja.
The airline said that the Bogota and Lima flights were not profitable and that it recognized the need to “fulfill its commercial promise” by improving service in the domestic market. Tame currently provides about 40 percent of domestic air service but has lost market share to Chilean-based Latam in recent years. Tame suspended service to New York City in December, also because of a lack of profitability.
The airline said it will maintain its international service to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in the U.S., as well as to Cali, Colombia.
“Our immediate objective is to strengthen the national connectivity service and promote stability for the airline,” Tame said.
In recent months, independent reports have criticized the airline for poor accounting practices and for being noncompetitive against foreign carriers. One report noted that Latam fills an average of 90 percent of its seats on the Quito-to-Cuenca route while Tame fills less than 60 percent. “There are issues of flight delays as well as poor customer service that have plagued the airline for years,” the report said.
President Lenin Moreno and former president Rafael Correa have both complained about financial losses suffered by Tame, with Correa once threatening to close or sell the airline. Efforts to find a commercial partner have failed.