TACA Peru adds first E-190, plans more domestic expansion

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TACA Peru is planning further domestic expansion in the second half of this year with additional routes and aircraft.

The Avianca-TACA subsidiary has just taken delivery of its first Embraer E-190 and is preparing to launch later this month three new domestic routes. The E-190 is a new type for Peru, and was unveiled in Lima yesterday at a ceremony attended by Peru's president, Alan Garcia Perez.

In a statement Perez applauded TACA's domestic expansion saying it would help Peru's economy and the country's aviation sector. "We need more competition in the market," Perez says.

In the first phase of its domestic expansion project, TACA Peru is launching three domestic routes on 15 February with a mix of E-190 and Airbus A320 family aircraft. The routes, which were initially announced in December, include Juliaca, Tarapoto and Trujillo. TACA Peru will use its new E-190 to serve Tarapoto twice daily and Trujillo once daily while Juliaca, the gateway to Lake Titicaca, will be served once daily with A320s.

A Grupo TACA spokeswoman says TACA Peru announced at yesterday's event in Lima that it intends to start a second phase of its domestic expansion project later this year. The second phase will include new domestic destinations, including potentially Chiclayo and possibly additional E-190s.

Grupo TACA has several additional E-190s on order and on option but until now all of its E-190s have been assigned to its El Salvadorian carrier. In addition to its new E-190, TACA Peru currently operates three A319s and one A320, according to Flightglobal's ACAS database.

TACA Peru currently only serves one domestic destination, Cuzco, and has primarily been an international carrier since it was launched by El Salvador-based Grupo TACA and local owner Daniel Ratti in 1999. TACA Peru, which became part of Avianca-TACA when the new airline group was formally established early last year, has rapidly expanded its international network in recent years. Within the last two months TACA Peru has added three international destinations - Brasilia, Mendoza in Argentina and Antofagasta in Chile.

According to Innovata, TACA will compete against LAN Peru and Star Peru on its new Lima to Juliaca, Tarapoto and Trujillo routes. LAN Peru and Star Peru also now serve Lima-Chiclayo.

TACA Peru already competes against the two carriers on the main Lima-Cuzco route with LAN Peru providing significantly more capacity with about 15 daily flights compared to only three daily flights each for TACA Peru and Star Peru. TACA Peru, which last month expanded its Lima-Cuzco operation from 13 to 21 weekly frequencies, has started using its new E-190 to operate some of its Lima-Cuzco frequencies.

All three of Peru's main carriers are expanding. Star Peru last month took delivery of its ninth BAe 146 while market leader LAN Peru is planning to take delivery this year of several additional A319s.