Saab 340 Operator TAG Airlines Eyes More International Routes

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The Guatemalan carrier TAG Airlines is looking to increase its international connectivity. In the last few months, this operator (which has a fleet of nine aircraft, including eight Saab 340) has launched two new routes to Mexico and has announced another one.

TAG Airlines has announced three new routes to Mexico in the last few weeks. Photo: Oscar Josué Elvir Vasquez via Wikimedia Commons.

Where will TAG fly?

TAG Airlines is under new management, and its new CEO is Julio Gamero, a former executive at Mexican carrier Interjet. Therefore, Gamero knows the importance of the Mexican market and has turned its attention to this country.

On August 13, TAG launched its new route between Guatemala and the Mexican city of Tapachula. This city is a border cross between Mexico and Guatemala. This route has five frequencies per week, from Monday to Friday.

A few days after, on August 19, TAG Airlines launched its new route Guatemala-Cancun, using its Saab 340 fleet. The route has four frequencies per week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

But that’s not all. TAG Airlines announced yesterday a new route that will connect “two Mundo Maya destinations,” said Julio Gamero. The flight will connect the Guatemalan city of Flores with Cancun. What’s important about Flores? It’s the closest city to the Mayan archeological site of Tikal.

While the airline hasn’t announced when this route will begin, it will be an interesting and uncontested one. Moreover, TAG will operate this route with one relatively uncommon aircraft in Latin America, the Saab 340.

How many Saab operators are in Latin America?

TAG Airlines currently has a fleet of nine aircraft. The Guatemalan carrier has one Embraer 145LR, six Saab 340A, and two Saab 340B, according to ch-aviation’s database. The average age of the airline’s fleet is 29.9 years old.

The Embraer, although currently stored, has a capacity for 50 travelers in economy; the Saab 340As can carry up to 33 people, and the Saab 340B can handle up to 34.

According to ch-aviation, there are registered 81 Saab 340 planes in the whole American continent, mainly in North America and the Caribbean. In Latin America, there aren’t many Saab operators left.

Aerolíneas Sosa, a carrier from Honduras, currently has two Saab 340 aircraft, both stored. There are also a few Saab aircraft in Argentina, flying for the State carrier LADE. This operator has four S340B.

A brief history about TAG

TAG Airlines started flying in 1961. It was the pioneer company of civil aviation in Guatemala, according to the carrier itself.

During its first years, the airline had to deal with the monopoly of the Guatemalan State carrier, Aviateca (which was later merged with Avianca).

In 1972, TAG incorporated a DC3 into its fleet and was the first Guatemalan airline to receive a certification from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Currently, the airline operates flights to five international destinations. It goes to Belize City in Belize, Cancun and Tapachula in Mexico, San Salvador in El Salvador, and San Pedro Sula in Honduras. Additionally, it flies to domestic destinations such as Flores, El Mirador, Guatemala City, and Puerto Barrios.

TAG Airlines operates approximately 526 monthly flights, offering 15,710 seats as of September 2021. Compared to its 2019 levels, the airline is already offering more capacity, although it has 8.5% fewer flights, according to stats provided by Cirium.

Have you ever flown onboard a Saab 340? With which airline was it, and how would you grade the experience? Let us know in the comments.