TAME Makes New York Route Application

Ecuadorian national carrier TAME has made its long-awaited application to US Department of Transportation for permission to introduce flights to New York, although the documents it has filed with the US authorities suggest it does not now plan to launch flights until the third quarter of this year rather than the tentative May 6, 2013 date it had previously planned.

In its formal application for a foreign air carrier permit TAME has requested authorisation to introduce flights from either, or both, Guayquil and/or Quito to New York for an initial two year period.  These will be flown on a six times weekly basis, according to the documentation, with a possible seventh rotation during peak seasons.  TAME says it will utilise a mix of narrowbody and widebody equipment cand will shortly be taking delivery of a former Gulf Air Airbus A330 to expand its network.  “TAME plans to begin US operations in the third quarter of 2013, and will utilise Airbus A330, A320 and A319 aircraft, configured to carry up to 278, 162 and 145 passengers, respectively,” it says in its application to the US DOT.

TAME, founded in 1962 as Transportes Aéreos Militares Ecuatorianos, has been designated by the government of the Republic of Ecuador for scheduled operations to the US under the US – Ecuador Bilateral Air Transport Agreement.  It will enter a market already served by local operator LAN Ecuador and US carriers American Airlines and United Airlines. 

The Ecuadorian carrier is expected to offer flights to New York from Quito’s new Mariscal Sucre International Airport, an uncontested route (although LACSA does offer through services via San José, Costa Rica), but is also seeking rights to fly between Guayaquil and New York.  This route is already served on a ten times weekly basis by LAN Ecuador but there has been a capacity void since Aerogal suspended its own long-haul link in May 2012 as it restructured its operations following a fleet realignment. 

According to MIDT data an estimated 54,000 bi-directional O&D passengers flew between Quito and New York in 2012, while approximately 204,000 flew between Guayaquil and the Big Apple.  The Quito – New York market was dominated last year by the services of American Airlines via Miami (21.0 per cent) and LAN Ecuador via Guayquil (19.5 per cent) but Avianca, Copa Airlines and LACSA also had notable traffic flows.  The direct offering of LAN Ecuador meant it dominated traffic on the Guayquil – New York route in 2012 (58.2 per cent), while former operator Aerogal had a 14.9 per cent share.

The wider passenger demand between Ecuador and the US in 2012 was just over one million bi-directional O&D passengers, buoyed by the operations of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and LAN Ecuador’s flights into other US markets.  American currently dominates with twice daily flights to Miami from Guayaquil and Quito; United offers a daily Quito – Houston link which it inherited when it acquired Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines has a daily service between Quito and Atlanta and LAN Ecuador a link between Quito and Miami.

In the table below we highlight the largest O&D markets between Ecuador and North America in 2012.  Unsurprisingly given the number of regular flights Miami dominates this analysis, but interestingly both Los Angeles and New York LaGuardia appear in the top five markets despite no non-stop services with 4.7 per cent and 2.6 per cent traffic shares, respectively.  During the year around 33,000 bi-directional O&D passengers flew between Quito and Los Angeles and 16,000 between Guayquil and Los Angeles, while over 20,000 flew between Quito and New York LaGuardia.

ESTIMATED TRAFFIC DEMAND BETWEEN ECUADOR AND NORTH AMERICA (bi-directional O&D passengers; 2012)

Rank

Destination

Estimated O&D Demand

% Share

Non-stop Operators

1

Miami International (MIA)

417,108

40.4

American Airlines (Guayquil & Quito), LAN Ecuador (Guayquil)

2

New York John F Kennedy International (JFK)

261,800

25.4

LAN Ecuador (Guayquil)

3

Los Angeles International (LAX)

48,406

4.7

4

George Bush Houston Intercontinental (IAH)

36,308

3.5

United Airlines (Quito)

5

New York La Guardia (LGA)

26,333

2.6

6

Orlando International (MCO)

21,148

2.1

7

Newark Liberty International (EWR)

20,248

2.0

8

Washington Ronald Reagan National (DCA)

19,664

1.9

9

Chicago O’Hare International (ORD)

18,740

1.8

10

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (ATL)

15,846

1.5

Delta Air Lines (Quito)

TOTAL

1,031,356

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