Closer to home, the carrier has added Bogota, Sao Paulo and Lima, Peru, to its network. The strategic aim is to realize about 40% of revenues internationally, up from the current 10-20%. TAME plans to open new services to Buenos Aires in May, using Airbus A319s for the 6-hr. flight.
As the airline's presence grows internationally, partnerships with other airlines are also on the agenda. “We need each other, we can complement their networks,” Farias says. With Latam soon to be solidly ensconced in Oneworld, and the Avianca group of airlines linked to the Star Alliance, many Skyteam members are finding it difficult to line up local partners for Latin America feed. TAME already cooperates with Delta Air Lines and Alitalia and it is finalizing an agreement with KLM, which serves Quito daily from Amsterdam. But Ecuadorian airline also plans “close relationships” with Brazilian carrier Gol and Aerolineas Argentinas. The Argentinian airline is a Skyteam member, whereas Gol has links with Delta. TAME itself “is not even close to joining” an alliance, but wants to focus on bilateral deals for the time being, its CEO notes.
Farias says the carrier is likely to add a fourth ATR 42-500 for its new domestic regional operation. TAME has introduced the ATRs for services to secondary markets. Large losses were posted on these routes when they were served by Embraer E-Jets or Airbus narrowbodies. “Some of the routes are still not profitable, but we are almost there,” he says.