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Logo of TAME.png
IATA ICAO Callsign
Ceased operationsMay 19, 2020
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer programTAME Millas
SubsidiariesAir Quito
Fleet size9
Parent companyEcuadorian Government
HeadquartersQuito, Pichincha, Ecuador
Key peopleFernando Guerrero (CEO)

TAME or TAME EP Linea Aerea del Ecuador was an airline founded in Ecuador in 1962. TAME (pronounced "tah-meh") was the flag carrier and the largest airline of Ecuador. TAME headquarters were in Quito, Pichincha Province and the main hub was Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito. The airline was formed by the Air Force of Ecuador. In 2011, it became a commercial entity and provided domestic, international and charter flights. On May 20, 2020, the Ecuador government decided to cease all the operations and liquidate the airline.[1]


TAME Douglas DC-6B at Miami in 1972
TAME logo, 1962 to 2009
A TAME A319 at Bogotá in 2010, with the new design and logo
TAME Airbus A320 with old livery at Mariscal Sucre Airport, Quito, Ecuador.
TAME Embraer 190

The military airline was founded on December 17, 1962, by Luis A. Ortega under Guillermo Freile Posso, both colonels. It was named Transportes Aéreos Militares Ecuatorianos (TAME). At the time, the Air Force required an income source; governmental transport services to remote and difficult to reach parts of Ecuador; and an entity to train pilots. The airline gradually increased in size infrastructure and number of services.

On December 4, 1962, Luis A. Ortega, Hector Granja, Eduardo Sandoval, Alfredo Barreiro, Oswaldo Lara, Julio Espinosa, Teodoro Malo and Jose Montesinos made inaugural flights in the Dakota C-47. The pilots held the rank of major and noncommissioned officers worked as flight attendants. The first commercial flight was made by Teodoro Malo on a route from Quito, Esmeraldas, Bahía, Manta, Guayaquil, Cuenca and back to Quito. Initially, TAME made domestic flights using C-47 planes. Gradually, over the next two years, DC-3 and DC-6 planes were added and then in 1970, two HS-748 Avro were acquired.

On April 30, 1966, TAME began regular international flights to Havana, Panama and Santiago de Chile.

As its business grew, TAME purchased four Lockheed L-188 Electras from Ecuatoriana de Aviación. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, TAME added three Boeing 727-100s. During the mid-1980s and up until 1992, Tame purchased four Boeing 727-200s. In 1986, three Fokker F28 Fellowship 4000s were added. In December 1998, TAME rented a Boeing 757-200.

In 2000, TAME began a long process of fleet renewal beginning with the renting of two Airbus A320s. These planes were delivered at the European Corporation Assemble factory, Toulouse and were renewed in 2008. Also in 2000, the Boeing 727-100 and 200 were retired. TAME found the Embraer 170/190s suited the airline's needs. Over the next two years, two models of the 170 series and one of the 190 series were obtained. On August 25, 2008, one Airbus A319 was obtained and soon after the two Airbus A320s were replaced, completing the fleet renewal.

In 2011, Tame changed its legal status to a state owned company, no longer under the administration of the Ecuador Air Force.

On May 20, 2020, Ecuador government decided to liquidate the airline and ceased all operations. The airline, which had been struggling for several years, claimed that its difficulties were compounded by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.


TAME's colours were blue, light blue, and gold as a decorative element. The original logo, designed by Luis A. Ortega symbolized the flight of a bird with a sun in the background. In 2010, the airline was rebranded with a new logo and colour palette.


TAME's hub was in Quito at Mariscal Sucre International Airport. TAME flew internationally to Cali in Colombia and Fort Lauderdale, New York in the United States. The main destinations in Ecuador were Guayaquil, Cuenca, Manta and Esmeraldas.


In December 1992, the governments of Ecuador and Colombia signed the "Frontier Integration Agreement" establishing a Quito, Esmeraldas (Tachina), Cali, Esmeraldas (Tachina), Quito route. In 1995, TAME offered flights from Quito to Bogota for Air France passengers. In 1997, TAME extended its international schedule through an agreement with EVA Air of Taiwan. On December 1, 2010, a codeshare agreement was made with Copa Airlines.[2][3]


As of May 2020, the TAME fleet comprised the following aircraft:[4] [5]

TAME Fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
J Y Total
Airbus A319-100 1 12 150 162
Airbus A320-200 1 12 150 162
ATR 42–500 3 50 50
Embraer 190AR 2 104 104
Total 7

Since its foundation, the airline's fleet has grown from the Douglas DC-3 and Douglas DC-6 planes, the Avro 748 and the Lockheed Electra to the Airbus A330, Airbus A320 and A319, as well as the Embraer 170 and 190. The Airbus A320 HC-CID began operations on August 27, 2009.[6] History fleet Airbus a330 Boeing 727 Boeing 737 Boeing 757 Quest Kodiak 100

1969 hijacking[edit]

On 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 9 p.m., finally landing in Cuba.[7][8]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • 20 January 1976: A TAME Hawker Siddeley HS-748-246 Srs. 2A with registration HC-AUE crashed while flying over mountainous terrain. The plane was flying at 10,000 feet then struck trees with its right wing, lost control and crashed into the side of a mountain. The plane was en route from Loja to Guayaquil's Simón Bolívar International Airport. Six crew members and 28 passengers died. There were eight survivors.
  • 22 May 1981: A TAME de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter 300 with registration HC-BAX crashed into a fog-shrouded mountain near Zumba. It was flying in formation with a Beech 200 (HC-BHG), which also crashed into the mountain. Fifteen passengers and three crew members on the Twin Otter died.
  • 11 July 1983: A TAME Boeing 737-200 with registration HC-BIG crashed while on final approach to Mariscal Lamar Airport in Cuenca. The crash was caused by the crew's lack of training in the aircraft type. All 119 people on board were killed. This was the most lethal event in the history of Ecuadorian aviation. (See TAME 737-200 crash).
  • 20 November 1984: A TAME de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter 300 crashed into a hill while flying between Loja and Zumba. Twelve passengers and two crew members died.
  • 12 September 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 causing the aircraft to veer left and crash. Six crew members and one passenger died.
  • 20 April 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 en route to Quito. In bad weather, the crew failed to execute proper departure procedures. Instead of turning, they flew in a straight line into the hill. Fifty-three passengers and crew members died.
  • 28 January 2002: Flight 120, a Boeing 727-100 with registration HC-BLF, departed from Mariscal Sucre Airport, Quito en route to Tulcán. Several minutes outside Tulcán, the control tower lost contact with the aircraft. The aeroplane collided with the Cumbal Volcano causing the death of all 94 passengers and crew. The crash occurred because the captain flew too fast into the final turn.
  • 16 September 2011: TAME flight 148, an Embraer E-Jet family with registration HC-CEZ departed from Loja. On takeoff, at 07:11 p.m, the plane slid off the runway. All 97 passengers and 6 crew survived.
  • 28 April 2016: At 07:50 a.m, TAME Flight 173 from Quito landed at Cuenca airport in bad weather. The Embraer with registration HC-COX, slid off the runway. All 87 passengers and 6 crew survived.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Martínez Garbuno, Daniel (May 19, 2020). "Ecuador Puts TAME In Liquidation – How Did It Happen?". Simple Flying.
  2. ^ TAME enters the Panamanian market El Universo company website. November 10, 2010. Accessed December 22, 2010. (In Spanish)
  3. ^ TAME enters the Panamanian market El Universo company website. November 10, 2010. Accessed December 22, 2010 (in English)
  4. ^ "Global Airline Guide 2019 (Part One)". Airliner World (October 2019): 13.
  5. ^ Airfleets|Accessed August 2018
  6. ^ Roll out: TAME Nuevo avion Nueva imagen Accessed September 3, 2009.
  7. ^ Hijacking description Aviation Safety Network. Accessed February 14, 2011.
  8. ^ Hijacking description Aviation Safety Network. Accessed February 14, 2011.

External links[edit]