Mexico's TAR plans March launch

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Queretaro, Mexico, based regional start-up airline Transportes Aereos Regionales (TAR) has announced that it will begin operations with Embraer ERJ145 aircraft in March.

The carrier confirms that Acapulco, Durango, Guadalajara, Ixtapa, Los Mochis, Monterrey, Puebla and Puerto Vallarta will be phased in as destinations during its first year of operations.

"We will start flying with three Embraer ERJ145 jets, although our plan is to reach a fleet size of 14 aircraft," TAR says. The carrier's owner, the local MAFRA industrial group, is investing $20 million into the airline.

The city of Santiago de Queretaro is located about 200 km Northeast of Mexico City and its airport produced in 2012 a traffic of 226,000 passengers, a number which TAR plans to improve "significantly".

Mexico has seen in recent years several attempts to "crack" its potentially vast regional aviation market. However, the irruption of new low cost airlines like VivaAerobus, Interjet and Volaris on previously unserved routes has put important pressure on the operators of smaller regional jets, such as ALMA, which operated Bombardier CRJ200 aircraft until its bankruptcy in 2008.

However, TAR's Queretaro base with its solid industrial hinterland and the financial muscle of the MAFRA group behind it, could prove the viability of small regional jet operations in Mexico.