Earlier this year, TACA airlines, a Costa Rican branch of the Colombian based Avianca, axed five nonstop flights to Costa Rica and laid off 261 of their Costa Rica-based employees.
It also dropped the TACA off its planes–now the airline will be identified only as Avianca. The cancelled flights included non-stops between San José, Costa Rica, and Los Angeles, New York, Havana, Quito and Guayaquil.
Click on a Google result today for TACA and you go to an Avianca page.
Now, a wholly Costa Rican airline is rushing in to fill the gap. Ticos Air expects to operate its first flights in early 2014, to Mexico City, Caracas, New York and Miami, among other cities. They’ll begin with five Airbus 319s, each with room for 12 people in first class and 98 people in coach. They hope to eventually have a fleet of Airbus 319, 320, 330, and 340 planes.
Gino Renzi, the founder of the new airline, has no previous experience running an airline. He worked as a publicist for Coca Cola and for a Costa Rican television station, and then as manager of the hotel La Condesa. But he’s been dedicated to the project since 1994, when the idea of a “100% Costa Rican airline” was born.
The company presently employs two dozen pilots and other personnel, and is hiring to reach its goal of a total of 190 employees. The Ticos Air web site is still under construction, but the Ticos Air Facebook page is up and running.