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Logo of TAME.png
Founded 1962
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer program TAME Millas
Fleet size 21
Destinations 25
Parent company Ecuadorian Government
Headquarters Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador
Key people Fernando Guerrero (CEO)
Website www.tame.com.ec

TAME, pronounced tah may, (TAME EP Linea Aerea del Ecuador), is both the flag carrier and the largest airline of Ecuador, with its headquarters located in Quito, Pichincha.[1] Its largest hub is Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito.

The airline was founded on December 17, 1962 as Transportes Aereos Militares Ecuatorianos TAME. One of its objectives is to offer air transport for people and freight services to various cities in Ecuador as well as in two cities in Colombia, Cali and Bogota, one in Panama, Panama City, one in Argentina, Buenos Aires, one in Venezuela, Caracas, one in Brazil Sao Paulo and two in USA, New York and Fort Lauderdale. Moreover, TAME offers charter flights to: Cartagena, San Andres, Punta Cana, Jamaica, Havana, Varadero and Curaçao. Also, the airline works alongside several tour operators: Decameron, Viamerica, Feritur, PGV and Maxitravel.

Tame changed its legal status in 2011: It is now a state owned company, but no longer under the administration of the Air Force.

The company has expanded its domestic and international routes and renovated its fleet with new models, such as Airbus A330, Airbus A320 and A319, as well as Embraer 170 and 190, with this new fleet TAME covers various routes in Ecuador and at an international level, the airline offers scheduled flights as well as charter flights.


The creation of TAME is the result of a clever fusion between the need for the Ecuadorian Air Force to finance itself and the decision to offer transport services to the most remote regions of the country. There was a pressing need to achieve a high standard in the training skills of the Air Force pilots, which also meant great expenses in the training. Another important reason was that national integration was essential, especially in the most remote regions of the country, where the communication channels were minimal or nonexistent.

Therefore, these factors inspired Colonel Luis A. Ortega to propose the creation of an Ecuadorian Air Force Airline. The dissertation he wrote in order to obtain his promotion to Major included the organizational outline, operation costs, routes and the objectives of the airline.

The Colonel’s proposal had the complete support of the Commanding General of the Ecuadorian Air Force, Colonel Guillermo Freile Posso, who gave the authorization to start the creation of TAME. As Colonel Ortega recalls “Our goals have always been ambitious, we want to work with energy and dedication in order to place TAME as the most important airline in Ecuador.” Gradually, TAME grew both in infrastructure and clients.

The actual resources obtained from the most profitable routes were invested in the improvement of the fleet, facilities and other necessary elements needed in order to have an adequate operation of the airline.[2]

First flights

Douglas DC-6B of TAME at Miami in 1972

The memories of that first flight in December 1962 are still present in the minds of those who have closely followed TAME’s trajectory, the commercial airline that in its 46 years has become the most prestigious representative of airfreight of Ecuador at an international standard. The first flight was directed by Teodoro Malo, the route was Quito-Esmeraldas-Bahía-Manta- Guayaquil-Cuenca-Quito. When the retired General Jose Montesinos talks about TAME’s first years, he remembers with nostalgia how “In 1960, we held the rank of Major, we were pilots of the Dakota C-47 plane, it had lateral seats and the noncommissioned officers worked as flight attendants.”

An TAME A319 at Bogotá in 2010, with the new design and logo of TAME

On December 4, 1962, Majors Luis A. Ortega, Hector Granja, Eduardo Sandoval, Alfredo Barreiro, Oswaldo Lara, Julio Espinosa, Teodoro Malo and Jose Montesinos were young pilots at the Ecuadorian Air Force when they flew TAME’s inauguration flights. It seems quite surreal now to remember that the first reception lounge was made up of furniture which belonged to the officers' mess of the 1st air area.

Likewise, the uncomfortable seats of the Dakota C-47 had to be adapted in order to provide comfort to the passengers. These limited beginnings in the infrastructure, now create a great contrast with the progress TAME has made throughout the years. Now TAME is a modern airline, it offers a good service and has a complete and efficient fleet. TAME has consolidated its service and image throughout the years. TAME replaced the Douglas DC-3 and Douglas DC-6 planes and later on the Avro 748 and Lockheed Electra planes.

At the beginning, passengers’ attention was precarious, the airline could not print tickets and the Ecuadorian Air Force Paymaster only gave a receipt at the moment of boarding the plane. There has been so many changes in the last 46 years; nowadays, TAME is the pioneering airline in matters of pre-check in, thus, relieving the passengers from waiting in the endless lines that are formed in front of the counters.

Tame's previous logo, used between 1962 and 2009.

TAME’s colors are blue, light blue and gold, which is a decorative element. The former logo symbolized the flight of a bird, it had a sun as its background and the design used to be located in the planes’ tail. The logo was created by Luis A. Ortega, who created and developed the logo at the beginning of TAME’s life.

Over a year ago, TAME decided to renovate its image, it was due to this reason that TAME decided to undergo an extension branding program with the help of the advertising companies LAFACULTAD and ALMA.[when?][citation needed] This program integrates all the processes for the projection of the brand, from the smallest details, such as stickers, to the implementation of the logo in the planes such renovation will be implemented gradually. The renovation of the graphic design was in charge of the advertising agency “La Facultad”.

The agency was able to conceptualize the new emblem; it is the representation of a bird in an ascending flight. A new light blue color replaced the formerly used dark blue, thus, symbolizing the renovation of the airline’s fleet.

Fleet history

TAME is a successful company, which is visible in its infrastructure growth. During its early beginnings, they conducted domestic air flights with C-47 planes. Over the next couple of years, DC-3 and DC-6 planes were incorporated, and then in 1970, two HS-748 Avro were acquired.

TAME, given the growing demand for its service, found itself in the situation where they had to buy 4 Lockheed L 188 Electra Jet Prop, a four-engine plane. These planes allowed TAME to take a great leap forward in its development and thus, being able to direct the necessary financial resources in order to capitalize its progress in the future. The L-188 Electra had previously been owned by Ecuatoriana de Aviación, the now non-existing Ecuadorian airline. By the end of the 1970s and beginnings of the 1980s, TAME added to its fleet 3 Boeing 727-100. During the mid-1980s and up until 1992, Tame was able to acquire 4 Boeing 727-200 through a strategic internal expansion and service.

In 1986, TAME added to its fleet 3 Fokker F28 Fellowship 4000.

Once TAME had these planes in its fleet, plus all the experience the pilots and crew were able to obtain from the charter flights they offered to various cities around the world, TAME started to take a peek into the International air service. In December 1998, TAME, in an unimaginable effort, gave a great leap forward in matters of quality and quantity proportions, through the rental of the Boeing 757-200. This new equipment allowed TAME to confront the following years of constant demand with innovative systems. TAME, Ecuador’s airline started a renovation process of its fleet in 2000.

A Tame Embraer 170.

The first step taken towards this goal was in the incorporation of two Airbus A320 planes that TAME rented for a five-year period. These planes were delivered at the European Corporation Assemble factory, in Toulouse, they are the manufacturers of these modern planes. The main roof these planes are: Quito, Guayaquil and Galapagos, starting September 24, 2003. At the same time these planes were acquired, TAME started the gradual withdrawal of the Boeing 727-100 and 200, given that these planes had already worked their productive lives.

A Tame Airbus A320 with parked in the Mariscal Lamar Airport in Cuenca, Ecuador.

Finally, after a long process that took 35 months, TAME has completed 75% of the renovation process of its fleet. This process took such an extensive period of time due to the fact that there were 10 months where the company studied, analyzed and compared various types of planes that would meet all the requirements needed to fly through the difficult routes that the company offers. These studies lead to the decision of the Board of Directors to acquire Embraer’s 170/190 planes. This decision implied a letter of intent of purchase of 2 models of the 170 series and 1 of the 190 series, while at the same time keeping open the possibility to acquire 4 more planes of the 190 series, all of these from the Brazilian manufacturer. The following two years were the time needed in order to carry out all the legal dispositions applicable to the state-owned airline.

TAME now[when?] has 9 brand new planes: 3 Airbus A 320-233Y and 1 Airbus A 319. In March 2006, the first 2 Embraer ERJ-170 arrived, then in June 2006, the first Embraer ERJ-190. Later that year, on December 2007, two more models of the ERJ-190 arrived to the country. In 2008, 3 A320s were returned to the lesser due to the increase of the lease of the planes. In replacement for these planes, TAME received two Airbus A320s.

On August 25, 2008, one Airbus A319 was incorporated into the fleet, which increased the TAME’s fleet capacity. Two months later, TAME received an Airbus A320, which replaced one of the original A320. On August 25, 2009; TAME received a brand new Airbus A320, with this plane; TAME finished its fleet renovation process. This plane came with TAME’s new colors and logo, this is proof of TAME’s image of modernization.


Main article: TAME destinations

TAME's hub is in Quito at Mariscal Sucre International Airport. Its focus cities are: Guayaquil, Cuenca, Manta and Esmeraldas

TAME currently serves 15 cities in Ecuador, Cali and Bogota in Colombia, Havana in Cuba, São Paulo in Brazil, Buenos Aires in Argentina, New York in the United States, Caracas in Venezuela, Lima in Peru and one city (Panama City) in Panama. All destinations are served from the main hub in Quito (UIO) and the secondary hub in Guayaquil (GYE), except the flight to Cali which stops at Esmeraldas.

TAME, the Ecuadorian Airline started its regular international flights on April 30, 1966 by flying to Havana, Panama and Santiago de Chile. In 1997, TAME transported passengers to Los Angeles, Taipei and Hong Kong through Panama, these flights were possible due to an agreement signed between TAME and EVA AIR from Taiwan. In 1995, TAME flew connecting flights: Quito-Bogotá-Quito, three days a week, for Air France passengers.

On December 1992, the governments of Ecuador and Colombia signed the Frontier Integration Agreement and they established the following route: Quito-Esmeraldas (Tachina)-Cali-Esmeraldas (Tachina)-Quito. This route was important because it meant a great leap in the route expansion.

As of December 1, 2010, TAME began regular flights from Quito – Panama – Quito and Guayaquil – Panama – Guayaquil on board its new Airbus A320 at the frequency of six flights per week (3 from Quito and 3 from Guayaquil), also a codeshare agreement was signed with Copa Airlines giving TAME more solid steps for its future.[3][4]


TAME has a quite an extensive space in the International Airport “Mariscal Sucre” in order to provide maintenance for its planes. This space is especially designed for planes that require routine inspections or have mechanical or electronic problems, plane that may require engineer repairs, internal modifications, motor change, etc.

The fleet renewal was an important step at improving the safety record of the airline. It was determined that the aging Boeing 727 jets were best replaced by the Airbus A320 family, and the Fokker F28 aircraft by Embraer E-170 and E-190 jets. On June 30, 2009, HC-BZS operated its last revenue flight between Guayaquil and Quito, ending the era of the Boeing 727[3]. The replacement, Airbus A320 HC-CID began operations on August 27, 2009,[5] as a result TAME now operates a fleet of 10 Airbus family, 4 Embraer jets and 3 ATR family.

As of March 2015 the fleet of TAME is:

TAME Fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
J Y Total
Airbus A319-100 4 -
Airbus A320-200 5 -
Airbus A330-200 1 -
Used only on the UIO-JFK route
ATR 42-500 3 -
Embraer E190-100LR 4 -
Quest Kodiak 100 4 -
Operating as TAME Amazonia
Total 21

Incidents and accidents

  • September 6, 1969: Twelve men and one woman, armed with machine guns, hijacked two TAME Douglas C-47s at Quito Mariscal Sucre Airport. The hijackers shot and killed one crewman and wounded another. The hijackers told the passengers that the hijacking was in retaliation for the deaths of several students during anti-government rioting at the University of Guayaquil in May 1969. Both aircraft flew to Tumaco, Colombia for refueling. One aircraft was left behind as the hijackers continued on to Panama's Tocumen International Airport. After a thirty-minute refueling stop, the aircraft continued to Kingston, Jamaica. After a 71-minute refueling stop, the plane left Kingston at 21:00, finally landing in Cuba.[6][7]
  • January 20, 1976: A TAME Hawker Siddeley HS-748-246 Srs. 2A with registration HC-AUE crashed while flying over mountainous terrain at 10,000 feet. The aircraft struck trees with its right wing, lost control and crashed into the side of the mountain. The plane was en route from Loja to Guayaquil's Simón Bolívar International Airport. Six crewmembers and 28 passengers died, while eight passengers survived the crash.
  • May 22, 1981: A TAME de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter 300 with registration HC-BAX crashed into a fog-shrouded mountain near Zumba while flying in formation with a Beech 200 (HC-BHG), which also crashed into the mountain. Fifteen passengers and three crewmembers on the Twin Otter died.
  • July 11, 1983: A TAME Boeing 737-200 with registration HC-BIG crashed while on final approach to Mariscal Lamar Airport in Cuenca. The investigation concluded that the accident occurred due to the crew's inexperience with the aircraft type. All 119 people on board were killed making it the worst accident in the history of Ecuadorian aviation. (See TAME 737-200 crash).
  • September 12, 1988: A TAME Lockheed L-188 Electra with registration HC-AZY took off from Lago Agrio airport on a ferry flight to Quito with the number 2 engine inoperative. Immediately after takeoff, the number 1 engine exploded in flames, causing the aircraft to veer left and crash. Six crewmembers and one passenger died.
  • April 20, 1998: Air France Flight 422, a TAME Boeing 727-200 with registration HC-BSU, crashed into the “El Cable” cerro minutes after taking off from Bogota's El Dorado International Airport. The flight was being operated by TAME under a wet-lease from Air France to transport passengers who arrived in Bogotá from Paris to Quito. The cause of the accident was determined to be a combination of bad weather and human error: the crew failed to execute the proper departure procedure immediately after takeoff, instead continuing in a straight line until impacting the hill. Fifty-three passengers and crew members died.
  • January 28, 2002: Flight 120, a Boeing 727-100 with registration HC-BLF, departed from Mariscal Sucre Airport in Quito on a flight to Cali, Colombia with a stopover in Tulcán, Ecuador. Several minutes before the aircraft was due to land in Tulcán, the control tower lost contact with the aircraft. The 727 collided with the Cumbal Volcano. All 94 passengers and crew died. The cause of the accident was determined to be human error, the captain having ordered the final turn at a speed that exceeded the maximum limit for the maneuver.
  • September 16, 2011: TAME flight 148 from Loja an Embraer E-Jet family with registration HC-CEZ, with 97 passengers & 6 crew on board, slipped off the runway at 19:11. There were no lives lost.

See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Library of Congress Country Studies.

  1. ^ "Contact Us." TAME. Retrieved on March 14, 2010.
  2. ^ "TAME: Historia". Archived from the original on 2007-08-18. Retrieved 2007-12-20. 
  3. ^ "Tame enter the Panamanian market (in Spanish) (T". El Universo. 10 November 2010. Retrieved 22 December 2010. 
  4. ^ "Tame enter the Panamanian market (in English) (T". El Universo. 10 November 2010. Retrieved 22 December 2010. 
  5. ^ "Roll Out: TAME Nuevo avion Nueva imagen". Retrieved 2009-09-03. 
  6. ^ "Hijacking Description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 14 February 2011. 
  7. ^ "Hijacking Description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 14 February 2011. 

External links