Prof. Ian Giddy, New York University
Founded in 1931 a New Zealand pilot of the Royal Canadian Air Force named Lowell Yerex, "Transportes Aéreos Centroamericanos" (TACA) started operations in Tegucigalpa, Honduras with one airplane and a contract from the Honduran government to transport goods. Thirty years later a well-known Salvadoran businessman invested in TACA, becoming the majority shareholder and making TACA a multi-national carrier with a base in San Salvador, El Salvador.
Before the acquisition, LACSA, Costa Rica's privately owned national airline, had a mixed reputation. Its fleet was old and limited, and flights were frequently late. Its marketing profile was poor.
Grupo Taca acquired all the shares of Lacsa in 1997. Between 1989 and 1992, Taca also acquired shares in AVIATECA (Guatemala) , and NICA (Nicaragua), linking these carriers in a strong multi-national alliance, that would later include TACA PERU. GRUPO TACA provides services under one operational brand with a fleet of five Airbus A319s and 23 A320s.
All the carriers in the group have kept their separate identities, but all the commercial and operational activities (such as purchases, maintenance, insurance, marketing and sales) were pooled. In 1996, the Grupo TACA concluded a reciprocal
codesharing agreement with American Airlines, the largest US carrier operating on Central American routes,
which would be implemented after governmental approval.
What would it take to successfully integrate Lacsa into Grupo Taca?