Avianca El Salvador
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded1931; 93 years ago (1931) (as TACA)
HubsSan Salvador
Focus citiesSan José (CR)
Frequent-flyer programLifeMiles
AllianceStar Alliance (affiliate)[1]
Fleet size4
Parent companyAvianca Group[2]
HeadquartersAntiguo Cuscatlán, El Salvador
Key people
  • Frederico Pedreira (CEO of Avianca Group)
  • David Alemán (Director)
FounderLowell Yerex
Employees2,000 (2022)[3]

Transportes Aéreos del Continente Americano, S.A. (Spanish for "Air Transports of the American Continent",[4] known and branded formerly as TACA International Airlines),[5] operating as Avianca El Salvador, is an airline owned by Kingsland Holdings and based in San Salvador, El Salvador. It is one of the seven national branded airlines in the Avianca Group of Latin American airlines, and it serves as the flag carrier of El Salvador.

Founded in 1931, the airline owned and operated five other airlines in Central America. Its name was originally an acronym meaning Central American Air Transports (Transportes Aéreos Centroamericanos) but was later changed to Air Transport of the American Continent (Transportes Aéreos del Continente Americano) to reflect its expansion to North, Central, and South America.

On 7 October 2009, the airline announced that it would merge with the Colombian airline Avianca,[6] however, it maintained the TACA name until the merger was officially completed on 21 May 2013. TACA is the second-oldest continuously operating airline brand in Central America and the Caribbean, after Cubana de Aviación.[citation needed]


Inauguration (1931–1980)

A logo reading "Central American Air Transports" in Spanish with a red and blue bird in the center
TACA's logo from 1936 to 1948[7]
A TACA International Airlines Douglas DC-4 on the ground with people exiting from the rear-left door
A TACA Douglas DC-4 in Tegucigalpa

TACA International Airlines, then named Central American Air Transports,[8] was founded in 1931 in Honduras by New Zealander Royal Flying Corps veteran Lowell Yerex.[9] Initially, the airline only transported cargo, but beginning in 1940, the airline also began passenger services.[8] TACA began operations with a single-engine Stinson plane. Since its beginnings, routes covered all the national territory and its aircraft sported the XH Mexican registration (which was changed later by HR). The idea of its founder was to establish one airline in each Latin-American country, such as Aerovias Brasil in Brazil and other TACAs in Mexico, Venezuela, and Colombia.[10] Out of all the TACA franchise airlines created, only TACA International of El Salvador survived.[11]

As a consequence in 1945, Yerex left the company and TACA moved its headquarters to the Republic of El Salvador where it was modernized and expanded, the company then established investment groups in other Latin American countries to be sold to domestic airlines, which in the case of TACA Honduras was sold to SAHSA. Later, TACA was organized as an international company having its headquarters in San Salvador only[citation needed] under the name of TACA International.

A TACA Air Cargo Lockheed L-188A Electra at Miami International Airport in 1978

During the 1940s and 1950s, the airline began to acquire larger piston-engine airliners including the Douglas DC-3 and the Douglas DC-4. The Vickers Viscount turboprop passenger airliner followed in order to expand its route network around the Americas.

On 28 December 1966, TACA International entered the jet age when it inaugurated its first jet, a BAC One Eleven. The aircraft model was used until 1 June 1988, when it was phased out in favor of the Boeing 737-200. The Lockheed L-188 Electra four-engine turboprop airliner was operated from 1976 by TACA Air Cargo including freight flights to Miami, Florida.

Expansion years (1980–2009)

A TACA Boeing 737-300 in 1994

Until 1980, TACA was owned by a United States company and had its corporate headquarters in New Orleans (due to the civil war raging in El Salvador) under the administration of the Kriete Family of El Salvador, who owned a minority stock and ended up buying all the shares.

According to the July 1983 TACA route map, the air carrier was operating jet service to four destinations in the U.S. from Central America (including Houston, Los Angeles, Miami and New Orleans).[12] The airline also made several upgrades to its fleet during the 1980s by replacing the older turboprops as well as BAC One Eleven jetliners with more efficient aircraft, such as the Boeing 737-200 Advanced and 737-300 with the latter type being a member of the Boeing 737 Classic series. TACA later operated wide body Boeing 767s on its scheduled passenger services including international flights to Los Angeles and Miami.[13]

Between 1990 and 1995, TACA bought the majority shares of the flag carrier airlines; Aviateca, LACSA, and Nicaragüense de Aviación, consolidating operations under a new brand group name, Grupo TACA.

In the 1990s, TACA International became the launch customer and principal user of Latin America's Airbus A320. These aircraft were substituting for the aging Boeing 737-200 and the 737-300/-400 series aircraft that were on the fleet, which were gradually retired until 1999.

A TACA International Airbus A319-100 taking off from Medellín, Colombia

In 1992, TACA signed a strategic alliance with Panama-based Copa Airlines, and the airline began flying to Tocumen International Airport, making it the first flight connection center in Latin America. As a consequence, Tocumen airport became the "Hub of the Americas" and the integration of several Latin American airlines into the alliance took place. The alliance ended in 1998 after the six-year period established in the agreement expired.

On 9 August 1995, Aviateca Flight 901 crashed into the San Vicente volcano while on approach to Comalapa International Airport killing all 65 people onboard the aircraft. The Salvadoran Civil Aviation Authority determined that the accident's probable cause was the flight crew's "lack of situational awareness in relation to the 7,159 foot obstruction [the San Vicente volcano]" and that the airline's crew resource management program was ineffective.[14] As TACA International Airlines was Aviateca's parent company, both airlines faced lawsuits from 21 families of crash victims, however, all the lawsuits were settled out of court.[15]

Then in 2001, having its main hubs in San Salvador and San Jose, the airline set an operations base in Lima, Peru, its first base in South America, causing as a consequence the founding of TACA Perú, of which TACA had 49% shares at. With this new addition, Grupo TACA began to offer a comprehensive network of routes throughout the Americas.

In 2005, TACA was one of the founding members of the Mexican airline Volaris. In the same year, TACA became the first airline in Latin America to operate the Airbus A321.

In 2008, the board of directors decided to revert to the original name, TACA International (since the consolidation of the acquired airlines was completed), and the airline's headquarters returned to San Salvador, El Salvador to a new building which was inaugurated shortly afterward. Also, it revealed a renovation in its corporate image. That same year, TACA became the second user of the Brazilian Embraer 190 in Latin America.

AviancaTACA and modernization (2009–12)

Two Airbus A320-200s from TACA International at the Juan Santamaría International Airport

On 7 October 2009, it was announced that TACA International would merge its assets in a strategic alliance with Colombian flag carrier Avianca, in which case each will maintain its trademark and operations. Avianca and TACA International operated a combined fleet of 129 aircraft, serving over 100 destinations in several countries in America and Europe.[16] In December 2009 approval for the merger was given by the Colombian Civil Aeronautical Agency.[17] The merger of Colombia's Avianca and El Salvador-based TACA is the latest sign that consolidation in the Latin American airline sector is picking up.

In June 2011, AviancaTaca signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 51 A320 family aircraft, including 33 eco-efficient Airbus A320neos. This made it the largest order for the A320neo in Latin America.[18]

Star Alliance (2010–12)

On 10 November 2010, Star Alliance announced that Avianca and TACA International were to become full members in mid-2012.[citation needed]

Completion of merger and final flight

Avianca and TACA completed their merger on 21 May 2013. The day prior, just before midnight, TACA International began to remove all its signs bearing the TACA logo from airports across the US, Canada, Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. The last flight with the TACA callsign took place on 20 May 2013. The flight was TACA Flight 566 from El Salvador International Airport to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. It departed San Salvador at 7:50 pm MST and landed in New York at 2:35 am EST. The flight landed two hours and thirty-five minutes after the official re-branding of the airlines; thus, the flight departed with the TACA callsign and landed with the Avianca callsign. The final official TACA flight to have the TACA callsign was TACA Flight 520 from San Salvador to Los Angeles. This flight departed at 7:20 p.m. MST and landed at 11:50 pm PDT. The first flight departing operated by Avianca El Salvador took place on 21 May 2013. The flight was then Avianca El Salvador Flight 561 from San Francisco to San Salvador. The flight departed at 1:25 a.m. PDT and landed at 7:55 a.m. MST. This was followed by Avianca El Salvador Flight 521 from Los Angeles to San Salvador. This flight departed at 1:30 a.m. PDT and landed at 7:30 a.m. MST.[citation needed]

Merger and controversy in Costa Rica (2012–13)

A TACA International Airbus A320-200 in the airline's final livery at Los Angeles

On 10 October 2012, it was reported in a press conference that the trade name TACA International would disappear from the public eye and the promotion and marketing strategies would be owned by Avianca, according to representatives of the group that controls the brand. AviancaTaca's CEO, Fabio Villegas, explained that the use of the single brand for the group would occur in the first half of 2013.[19] Although the TACA trade name would disappear from the public eye, TACA will continue to operate but it will operate under the Avianca El Salvador brand and it will remain a full member of Star Alliance. Despite the TACA name being permanently retired, Avianca El Salvador continues to use the IACA and IACO identifiers "TA" and "TAI", along with the call sign "TACA" for flights.[citation needed]

On 18 May 2013, AviancaTaca Holding downgraded the Juan Santamaría International Airport hub in San José, Costa Rica to a base of operations as part of the post-merger restructuring. This included the discontinuation of more than five non-stop flights made by the airline to and from San Jose, including flights to all cities in the United States. As a consequence, more than 200 employees lost their jobs (equivalent to 20% of the workforce of the airline). This was controversial in Costa Rica and led to an extensive investigation by the civil aviation authorities of that country against the holding company.[20][21][22]

In November 2022, Avianca painted one of its Airbus A320s (registration: N564AV) in TACA Airlines' 1990s livery.[3]


Avianca El Salvador is headquartered at Avenida El Espino in Antiguo Cuscatlán, El Salvador. The airline's air operator's certificate is COA-002-TA.[23] Avianca El Salvador uses the IATA airline designator "TA" and the ICAO airline designator "TAI".[2]


A TACA International Airbus A321-200 landing at Los Angeles International Airport

The former airlines that made up Grupo TACA were:

The airline's hubs before the Avianca merger were:


A map depicting routes operated by TACA International Airlines in 1940 in Central America
A map of routes operated by TACA Airlines in 1940

Avianca El Salvador serves destinations throughout North and South America.

Country City Airport Notes Refs
 Belize Belize City Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport Terminated
 Canada Toronto Toronto Pearson International Airport
 Colombia Bogotá El Dorado International Airport
Cali Alfonso Bonilla Aragón International Airport Terminated
Cartagena Rafael Núñez International Airport Terminated
Medellín José María Córdova International Airport Terminated
 Costa Rica Liberia Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport Terminated
San José Juan Santamaría International Airport Focus city
 Cuba Havana José Martí International Airport Terminated [24]
 Ecuador Guayaquil José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport
Quito Mariscal Sucre International Airport
 El Salvador San Salvador El Salvador International Airport Hub
 Guatemala Guatemala City La Aurora International Airport
 Honduras Comayagua Palmerola International Airport [25]
Roatán Juan Manuel Gálvez International Airport Terminated
San Pedro Sula Ramón Villeda Morales International Airport
Tegucigalpa Toncontín International Airport Terminated [25]
 Mexico Cancún Cancún International Airport
Mexico City Mexico City International Airport
 Nicaragua Managua Augusto C. Sandino International Airport
 Panama Panama City Tocumen International Airport
 Peru Lima Jorge Chávez International Airport
 Spain Madrid Madrid–Barajas Airport Seasonal [26]
 United States Boston Logan International Airport [27]
Chicago O'Hare International Airport Terminated [28]
Dallas Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport
Las Vegas Harry Reid International Airport Seasonal [29]
Los Angeles Los Angeles International Airport
Miami Miami International Airport
Newark Newark Liberty International Airport Terminated
New Orleans New Orleans International Airport Terminated
New York City John F. Kennedy International Airport
Oakland San Francisco Bay Oakland International Airport Terminated [30]
Ontario Ontario International Airport [31]
Orlando Orlando International Airport [27]
San Francisco San Francisco International Airport
Washington, D.C. Dulles International Airport

Codeshare agreements

The airline has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:[32]


A former Avianca El Salvador Airbus A321-200 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in 2018

Current fleet

As of October 2023, Avianca El Salvador operates the following aircraft:[33][34]

Avianca El Salvador fleet
Aircraft In
Orders Passengers Notes
W Y+ Y Total
Airbus A320-200 1 12 60 108 180
Airbus A320neo 3
Total 4

Former fleet

TACA International operated the following aircraft:[35][36]

Avianca El Salvador former fleet
Aircraft Total Introduced Retired Notes
Airbus A300B4-200F 5 1998 2001 Operated by JHM Airlines Cargo
Airbus A319-100 14 1999 2023
Airbus A321-200 6 2005 2022
BAC One-Eleven Series 400 3 1966 1988
BAC One-Eleven Series 500 1 1981 1982
Beechcraft 17 1 1950 1953
Bellanca CH-300 Pacemaker 1 1935 1944
Bellanca CH-400 Skyrocket 3 1934 Un­known [37]
Boeing 737-200 16 1982 2005
Boeing 737-300 9 1988 1999
Boeing 737-400 1 1992 1993 Transferred to Carnival Air Lines
Boeing 767-200 2 1985 1995
Boeing 767-200ER 3 1992 1997
Boeing 767-300ER 3 1993 2000
Canadair CL-44 1 1974 1974
Cessna Citation I 1 1994 1995
Curtiss C-46 Commando 2 1945 1970
Douglas C-47 Skytrain 15 1945 1948
Douglas C-54 Skymaster 3 1949 1975
Douglas DC-4 2 1947 1973
Douglas DC-6 5 1970 1978
Embraer 190AR 12 2008 2019 [38]
Ford 5-AT Tri-Motor 18 1934 1944 [39]
Grumman G-21 Goose 1 1947 Un­known
Kreutzer K-5 Air Coach 2 Un­known 1937
Lockheed Model 18 Lodestar 1 Un­known 1947 [40]
Lockheed L-188A Electra 2 1975 1985
Metal Aircraft Flamingo 2 Un­known Un­known [41]
Stinson Model O 3 Un­known Un­known
Stinson Model U 1 Un­known Un­known
Vickers Viscount 7 1954 1975

Reciprocal frequent-flyer agreements

LifeMiles is the frequent-flyer program of Avianca and TACA International as of 2009, because of the merger with Avianca. It replaced the old "Distancia" program.[42]

Accidents and incidents

TACA Flight 510 crash in Guatemala City, April 6, 1993

See also


  1. ^ "Lufthansa Wants Quick LATAM Alliance Decision | AVIATION WEEK". Archived from the original on 17 January 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Avianca El Salvador". Centre for Aviation. Retrieved 17 January 2024.
  3. ^ a b Lozano, Luis (2 November 2022). "Avianca Pinta Uno de Sus Aviones A320 con la Imagen de la Desaparecida Aerolínea TACA" [Avianca Paints One of Its A320 Aircraft with the Image of the Disappeared TACA Airline]. La Prensa Gráfica (in Spanish). Retrieved 17 January 2024.
  4. ^ Schatan, Claudia; Rivera Urrutia, Eugenio, eds. (11 July 2008). Competition Policies in Emerging Economies: Lessons and Challenges from Central America and Mexico. Ottawa, Canada: Springer Science+Business Media. pp. 41–42. doi:10.1007/978-0-387-78433-5. ISBN 9780387784335. OCLC 272298841. Retrieved 17 January 2024.
  5. ^ North, Liisa L.; Clark, Timothy D., eds. (18 August 2017). Dominant Elites in Latin America: From Neo-Liberalism to the 'Pink Tide'. Springer Publishing. p. 173. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-53255-4. ISBN 9783319532554. LCCN 2017936486. OCLC 1001792913. Retrieved 17 January 2024.
  6. ^ "Avianca confirms 'strategic merger' with TACA - 10/7/2009". Flight Global. 7 October 2009. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  7. ^ "TACA Logo". Logos World (in Spanish). 6 November 2023. Retrieved 17 January 2024.
  8. ^ a b "El Inicio de un Nuevo Capítulo para TACA" [The Beginning of a New Chapter for TACA]. La Prensa Gráfica (in Spanish). 28 May 2013. Retrieved 17 January 2024.
  9. ^ Skipper, Ben (2023). 100 Years of Civil Aviation: A History from the 1919 Paris Convention to Retiring the Jumbo Jet. United Kingdom: Air World. p. 77. ISBN 9781399066006. OCLC 1399376699. Retrieved 17 January 2024.
  10. ^ Com, Profilbaru. "Avianca El Salvador".
  11. ^ Rico, Rico (28 May 2013). "Adios TACA!". Q Costa Rica.
  12. ^ "Departed Flights".[dead link]
  13. ^ " | Aviation Photography, Discussion Forums & News". Retrieved 4 March 2024.
  14. ^ "Aviateca Flight 901". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 17 January 2024.
  15. ^ Lozano, Luis (9 August 2021). "Tragedia de 1995 en Fotos: La Caída del Vuelo 901 de Aviateca" [1995 Tragedy in Photos: The Fall of Aviateca Flight 901]. La Prensa Gráfica (in Spanish). Retrieved 17 January 2024.
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  23. ^ "Operadores Aereos Nacionales" [National Aerial Operators]. Civil Aviation Authority (in Spanish). Retrieved 1 March 2024.
  24. ^ "Avianca dejará de volar a Cuba el próximo 15 de enero" (in Spanish). Asere. 22 November 2019. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  25. ^ a b Nicolás Zorro Rincón (14 December 2021). "As of Thursday 16 American and Avianca will move their operations to Palmerola". Retrieved 14 December 2021.
  26. ^ "Avianca empezó a volar entre San Salvador y Madrid". 23 June 2023. Retrieved 23 June 2023.
  27. ^ a b Martinez Garbuno, Daniel (17 March 2023). "Avianca Announces New Routes To Boston And Orlando". Simple Flying. Retrieved 17 March 2023.
  28. ^ Sam Roecker (4 April 2019). "Avianca Drops Chicago and Boston, Reduces JFK".
  29. ^ Linsey Lewis (16 July 2023). "Harry Reid International Airport welcomes Avianca's inaugural flight to Las Vegas". Retrieved 16 July 2023.
  30. ^ "Avianca adds new El Salvador flight at OAK". 7 September 2023. Retrieved 7 September 2023.
  31. ^ Mark Finlay (4 July 2021). "Avianca Inaugurates Ontario – San Salvador Operations". Retrieved 4 July 2021.
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  33. ^ "Global Airline Guide 2019 (Part One)". Airliner World. October 2019: 13.
  34. ^ "Avianca El Salvador Fleet Details and History". Retrieved 10 June 2023.
  35. ^ "TACA fleet". Retrieved 20 February 2021.
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  37. ^ "Aviation Companies, Brazil, Columbia, Costa Rica, Cuba & Mexico". Retrieved 24 February 2015.
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  39. ^ "Ford Tri-Motor". Archived from the original on 23 April 2006.
  40. ^ "Lockheed Lodestar N31G Virtual Exhibit". Archived from the original on 18 November 2005.
  41. ^ "Home of Cincinnati Aviation Heritage Society". Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  42. ^ "LifeMiles – El programa de viajero frecuente de Avianca, TACA y AeroGal". Retrieved 4 June 2013.
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  47. ^ "1980 TACA Lockheed L-188 Electra Accident". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 8 April 2023.
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  52. ^ "Plane skids off runway in Honduras, 5 dead". Reuters. 30 May 2008. Retrieved 30 May 2008.