Transportes Aereos de Centroamericano was founded rather bizarrely in 1931 by a New Zealand pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force - Lowell Yerex, in Honduras. Yerex dreamed of creating a network of TACA's throughout Latin America but though initially successful political machinations with Pan Am and others as well as various dictatorships saw all the airlines except the one in El Salvador disappear. In 1940 Yerex sold control of the company only to be forced out in 1945. TACA acquired a local San Salvador based airline in 1947 and it was this which would go on to form the future airline TACA International.
When Waterman Group acquired a 35% shareholding from TWA in 1949 it injected funding to keep the airline afloat and created a new New Orleans based holding company TACA Corporation to manage the airline. TACA S.A became TACA International at the same time. A controlling interest in the airline was sold to Ricardo H. Kriete in 1961 and he introduced a crack management team from US airlines. It wasn't until 1983 however that the airline's base was moved to El Salvador.
TACA's DC-4s were replaced from 1957 by the first of six Viscounts and these gave way in December 1966 to TACA’s first jets in the form of a pair of new One-Elevens. The BAC One-Eleven actually sold rather well in Central America and the Caribbean albeit in small numbers. TACA acquired two series 407s which were basically series 300s with American instrumentation and equipment.
The first aircraft YS-17C was named ‘El Centroamericano’ and first flew on December 5, 1966. YS-18C arrived in February 1967 and was named ‘El Salvador’. A third aircraft, a series 409, was acquired in April 1973 when LACSA of Costa Rica's ‘El Tico’ was purchased and became YS-01-C 'El Izalco'. 01C was sold to Rolls Royce Bristol in 1979, however the other pair continued in service until late 1990 when they were sold to Winchester Aircraft Financing. 17C became G-BSXU before on-sale (along with her sister) to Kabo Air where she became 5N-BXR in late 1991. She was however broken up not long afterwards in 1993.
The One-Elevens were joined by new 737-200s from 1978 but continued in service and gained TACA's colourful new Macaw based scheme. YS-18C became G-BSXV. In November 1992 she was also sold to Kabo Air of Nigeria and became 5N-KBW. She was withdrawn from use after a crash in May 2002.
TACA itself was run by a savvy group of managers who began to invest in several other local airlines most notably Costa Rica's LACSA and Guatemala's Aviateca. These airline's would eventually all merge under the TACA name with a new fleet of A320s. TACA would continue to grow in places as far afield as Peru but in 2009 it decided to merge with the resurgent Avianca and finally in May 2013 the TACA name disappeared.
History of Grupo TACA
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: