For the earlier parts of this series please see:
The fleet was still a little bit of a hotchpotch of various aircraft but the 737-300 fleet had been almost completely flipped with new leased examples. By June 1999 the fleet stood at:
The carrier's yellow tail livery had been updated with a bright yellow roofline. Amongst the aircraft it was deployed on was the single 727-200 XA-THU. This frame was originally delivered to Eastern in April 1973 as N8863E and briefly switched to Pan Am in October 1989, as N355PA ‘Clipper Inca’, before moving to AvAtlantic in December 1992. She joined TAESA in June 1997 - only the second of her type to have done so.
After stopping in Guadalajara and Uruapan, it had only 13 passengers and five crew members aboard as it headed to Mexico City, 180 miles to the east. The plane impacted the ground in a nose low attitude in an avocado grove and was totally destroyed.
Two weeks later, on November 25, 1999, the Mexican authorities grounded the entire TAESA fleet of 27 aircraft citing safety concerns. At the time the airline was serving Oakland (California), Chicago (Illionois) and Laredo (Texas) as well as a full domestic network. The airline was still in debt and the grounding was catastrophic not only to its bottom line but also its image. TAESA released a statement:
''Since Taesa considers safety to be the No. 1 priority, it will abide by this decision, gladly collaborating with authorities so that all these doubts can be cleared up,''
XA-TKN. Aviation Safety Network
1999. 18 Killed in Mexico Plane Crash. CBS News
1999. Mexico Grounds Entire Fleet Of Airline Involved in Crash. New York Times
Finbow. R. The Limits of Regionalism: NAFTA's Labour Accord
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: