MIGUEL REYES

Ecuador 2020 | TRANSPORT | INTERVIEW

Ecuador's national flagship airline, TAME, is seeking to climb to higher altitudes in Ecuador's airline sector by increasing the amount of internal flights in addition to seeking out new international routes

Miguel Reyes
BIOGRAPHY

Miguel Reyes was appointed as the new acting general manager of Ecuador's flagship airline, TAME, in 2019. Reyes has a 33-year trajectory in the aeronautic industry, where he has held high-level positions in important aviation companies. He was responsible for the operation of different airlines in Miami and Quito. He also acted as sales manager and regional manager at these companies. From 2003-2019, he worked under the general manager for Copa Airlines in Ecuador, where he ensured the correct management of the airline, reaching goals and results with an over 20% yearly growth.

As the new general manager of TAME, how will you channel your experience in the aviation industry to make it a more prominent airline?

There is an understanding that we must all have pulled our weight in taking TAME to a new level of competitiveness. There are many stakeholders in the company and within the aviation sector in Ecuador who need to work together to achieve our current goals, and I am here to play my part in orchestrating the initiatives and synergies wherever possible. We are also now open to potentially partnering with bigger private groups and are already in talks with certain private investment funds to obtain what is currently impossible, namely advanced and costly technologies. Other than that, we need to rethink and redraw our routes and connections, keeping only profitable ones and ensuring key cities remain connected. I have been working in aviation for over 30 years, and my understanding of the industry will be a useful tool for TAME in meeting the company's goals, which are connectivity, security and quality. Our first strategic objective is to standardize our fleet, thus boosting the efficiency of our training, maintenance, and repair operations. Our procurement processes need to be more efficient in terms of meeting our needs through more competitively priced volume purchases. Meanwhile, our routes must be planned according to profitability as opposed to availability.

What role does internal tourism play in TAME's strategy for connecting foreign tourists?

We have discussed the possibility of opening a direct route from Galápagos with European airlines. We need to embrace our responsibility to connect Ecuador internally and create local economic synergies by enabling easier access between our own cities and economic players. From there, we can plan outwards and connect our cities to other destinations of interest in the region recognizing the strength of regional players and the work already done to establish profitable routes within and around Ecuador. Major regional players such as LATAM, COPA, and AVIANCA already prompt us to greater competitiveness, and to improve our service and make air travel more accessible for all. And while we recognize the presence of new players in the market, we are working to reclaim our historic 70-75% local market share regardless. This is a rapidly changing market and we need to be at the forefront of all trends. The sector is growing by 10% annually and we aim to be the principle growth factor.

Regarding international routes, how are you planning to expand your current offering?

We currently have two major routes in Cali and Fort Lauderdale that have set the benchmark for our upcoming routes to strengthen our network. We consider ethnic and touristic factors in our decision making, offering incentives accordingly on specific routes. Currently, we are exploring two major routes based on those considerations. One is Cancún and the other New York City due to the significant Ecuadorian community based there, adding to the touristic value of that route. Thereafter, we see significantly more potential in the Asian market, mainly because of the Korean operator of the new Manta airport that could open the doors to such destinations. As mentioned before, we are currently working on a project to increase the route availability from Europe to specific destinations

within Ecuador including, possibly, Galápagos, thereby ensuring touristic volume.What is TAME's perspective on the pro-business changes that are happening in Ecuador, and what opportunities might it create for your operations?

We aim to be in the best position to service potential investor interest in Ecuador and to ensure the right connectivity between investors' home countries and ours, while also making every major city or investment region easily accessible. Essentially, we aim to position ourselves as an indirect partner in the successful venture of potential economic investors by making their travel logistics a positive element to consider when venturing to Ecuador.