TAMPA (TRANSPORTES AEREOS MERCANTILES PANAMER-ICANOS TAMPA S. A. CARGO): Carrera 76, No. 34A-61, Alaya Herrera Airport, Medellin, Colombia; Phone 57 (4) 250-2939; Fax 54 (4) 250-5639; Code QT; Year Founded 1974. Oscar Posada and American expatriate and pioneer Latin American aviation figure Luis H. Coulson form TAMPA at Medellin in 1974. After obtaining two Douglas DC-6A freighters, domestic all-cargo services are inaugurated. In 1975, the new all-cargo carrier contracts with SAM (Sociedad Aeronautica de Medellin, S. A.) to operate freight flights from Medellin and Bogota to Miami. A third DC-6A is acquired and the cargo to Florida consists exclusively of cut flowers. TAMPA, meanwhile, becomes the first airline in Colombia dedicated solely to air freight.
Late in the decade, services are also started to Miami from Bogota as the freight operator begins its climb to prominence as the seventh largest all-cargo carrier in the world.
In 1980, the Douglas transports are replaced by a pair of chartered Boeing 707-373Cs; services remain the same, though frequencies are increased to an almost-daily basis. The first Boeing is returned to its lessor in 1981. The second, with three crew, fails its initial climb away from Medellin on December 14, 1983, and crashes into power lines and buildings; all aboard the freighter are killed, along with 22 persons on the ground.
In 1984-1988, four B-707-320Cs are acquired and routes are opened to Miami from Barranquilla, Cali, and Pereira. The company reports that, during the first 3 quarters of the latter year, a total of 105.97 million FTKs are operated.
Airline employment is increased by a spectacular 185.4% in 1989 to 371 and the fleet now includes 4 B-707-320Cs.
Traffic figures are only made available for the year’s first half, but show a valuable boost in cargo carried, up 36.4%, to 63.71 million FTKs.
On September 11, the first European service is inaugurated, Bogota-Miami-Ostend, employing a pair of leased Douglas DC-8-63Fs; the routes, which will be suspended in the face of recession, are the first operated across the Atlantic by any Latin American cargo airline. Cut flowers are still flown to Miami, but now account for only 87% of the company’s tonnage.
Statistics made available in 1990 show that, through September, freight traffic rises 4.9% to 153.86 million FTKs. A fifth Stratofreighter, a B-707-324C, is delivered at year’s end under charter from Comtran International.
In 1991, the fleet comprises 2 B-707-321Cs, 3 leased B-707-324Cs, and 1 leased Douglas DC-8-71F. Employment at President Jorge Coul-son Rodriguez’s carrier stands at 371. When U. S. Customs agents at Miami find 3,900 pounds of cocaine in an inbound shipment of clothing aboard a TAMPA Stratofreighter, the company is hit with a $1,000 per ounce ($64 million) fine. An agreement is reached with the U. S. government under which most of the fine is mitigated as the airline spends almost $2 million to boost its security.
Numbers are again offered only through September, but this time show cargo down 1.6% to 151.36 million FTKs.
Airline employment stands at 371 in 1992 as the fleet is altered slightly. Gone is one B-707-324C, replaced by a B-707-338C first operated by Qantas Airways (Pty.), Ltd. A new route is operated to Panama and Caracas from New York.
Figures are publicized through May and note freight traffic as being up 16.9% to 101.34 million FTKs. Revenues total $68.8 million and with expenses down, an operating profit of $1.3 million is generated.
At the end of the month, a temporary contract is signed with the new Miami-based U. S. cargo concern Fine Air; it will undertake TAMPA’s weekly roundtrip service from south Florida to Ostend, Belgium, via London (STN) employing a Douglas DC-8-55FB.
In 1993, the workforce is increased to 600 and the fleet is altered to comprise the original 2 owned B-707-321Cs, plus 2 leased B-707-324Cs, 1 leased B-707-338C, and 2 leased DC-8-71Fs. Scheduled cargo flights are undertaken from Miami to Barranquilla, Bogota, Cali, Medellin, Ostend, and Pereira, from Bogota to Miami and Ostend, and from New York to Caracas and Panama City.
Through August, cargo is up 5.6% to 162.7 million FTKs. Unhappily, revenues are only $57.1 million. In the early fall, the last Stratofreighter service is operated to Europe. Although the B-707Fs are withdrawn, the all-cargo route to Ostend and London (STN) is maintained with a DC-10-30CF leased from World Airways.
Airline employment is increased by 8.3% in 1994 to 650. Cut flowers are still flown to Miami; however, their tonnage accounts for only 65% of the business conducted by the largest Latin American all-cargo airline operating out of the south Florida airport.
Early in the year, the Douglas wide-body is returned to World Airways and services to Europe end. During the year’s first 9 months, freight traffic is up by 15.4% to 187.51 million FTKs.
Just after takeoff from Sao Paulo on an October 9 all-cargo service to Santa Cruz, the No. 3 engine of a B-707-324C with five crew must be shut down. The landing gear fails as the aircraft attempts an emergency landing back at its point of origin and the Stratofreighter slides to a stop. Although the Boeing is damaged beyond repair, there are no fatalities.
There is no change in the workforce during 1995. Cargo dips 4.5% through August to 176.87 FTKs.
A 40% stake is acquired by Martinair Holland, N. V. in November 1996. President/CEO Frederik Jacobsen’s fleet transports a total of 112.6 million tons of goods and earns revenues of $69.5 million.
The leased fleet in 1997 includes 2 DC-8-71Fs and 1 each B-707-321C, B-707-324B, and B-707-338C. The former was first operated as the Clipper Courser by Pan American World Airways (1).
The company moves into a 75,000-sq.-ft. leased warehouse at Miami (MIA) in December. Approximately one-third of the facility is refrigerated for the protection of fresh flowers and other perishable cargo.
Cargo traffic accelerates 14.6% to 226.94 million FTKs, which translates into 117.87 million tons of freight hauled. Income accelerates to $77.51 million.
Flights continue in 1998, with approximately 30 all-cargo flights made each week from Miami to Bogota and other cities in Colombia. One more DC-8-71F joins the fleet and a fourth is ordered.
When Martinair Holland, N. V. begins to implement a new cargo strategy in Latin America during the third quarter, TAMPA’s activities become an integral part. Acquiring a DC-10-30CF on lease, the Colombian airline initiates five-times-a-week all-cargo flights in late November linking Miami (MIA) with Bogota, Medellin, and Caracas.
Freight traffic slides to 204.53 million FTKs.
By the beginning of 1999, airline employment is reduced by 26.5% to 551.
It is noted on February 18 that this year’s volume of fresh flowers into Miami, ahead of Valentine’s Day, is level with the previous year’s. At the peak of the just-ended season, volume is approximately 17,000 boxes per day. For purposes of measurement, a DC-8-71F can transport 2,300 whole boxes on a flight, each box containing 300 roses. Hoping for better sales, the airline has even undertaken the expense of renting 6 refrigerated 40-ft. trucks to supplement its Miami warehouse capacity. They are not used.
On December 6, company officials indicate that they are planning to soon add a Venezuela stop on the carrier’s Colombia-Miami all-cargo run.
Freight traffic for the year totals 234.75 million FTKs. Revenues grow to $80.9 million.
The workforce at the beginning of 2000 totals 551 and 3 DC-8-71Fs continue to be operated by President/CEO Frederick Jacobsen’s concern. It is announced on April 27 that the company will soon be adding new routes into Mexico and Brazil, as well as short-term service to Bolivia and Panama.
TAMSA (TRANSPORTES AEREOS MEXICANOS, S. A. de C. V.): Mexico (1943-1960). Compania Aeronautica Francisco Sarabia, S. A. de C. V., which had ceased trading in 1942, is purchased for 2.2 million pesos from Sarabia’s widow, Agripina Diaz, and her partner, Ef-fego Cabrera, by a group of Mexican investors in 1943; the carrier is renamed TAMSA and registered on August 16, 1944. On August 22, the Ford Tri-Motor 4-AT-6 is purchased from a New York source.
The haulage of chicle, a principal interest of the previous operation, is now halted in favor of the inauguration in 1945 of freight flights to Matamoros and other Yucatan towns. The fleet in 1946 includes Curtiss Robins, Avro Ansons, a Ford Tri-Motor, and a Boeing 40B; orders are placed for three Douglas DC-3s.