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TAROM - Romanian Air Transport, commonly known simply as TAROM, is the flag carrier airline of Romaniamarker. The brand name TAROM is an acronym for (Romanian Air Transport). Its main base is the Henri Coandă International Airportmarker in Bucharestmarker (formerly known as the Otopeni airport). The airline operates scheduled domestic services and international services to destinations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. 95% of TAROM is owned by the Romanian Government (Ministry of Transport). The airline transported 1.69 million passengers in 2007 (a 32.1% increase compared to the previous year); this makes TAROM the second-fastest growing airline in Europe, after Brussels Airlines.

History

The beginnings

Romaniamarker's first national airline was founded in 1920 under the name CFRNA - (French-Romanian Company for Air Navigation). The airline used French-built Potez 15 aircraft for its passenger/mail service between Parismarker and Bucharestmarker via several cities in Central Europe. In 1925, the city of Galaţimarker became the first destination in Romania served by regular flights followed, from 24 June 1926, by an extended service to Iaşimarker and Chişinăumarker. Ten de Havilland DH.9 and five Ansaldo A.300, in addition to the Potez aircraft, operated the service. In 1928 the airline changed its name to SNNA - Serviciul Naţional de Navigaţie Aeriană (The National Air Navigation Service). In 1930, the company adopted the name LARES - Liniile Aeriene Române Exploatate de Stat (Romanian Air Line Exploited by the State) while 1937 saw the merger of LARES with its competitor, SARTA (Societatea Anonimă Română de Transporturi Aeriene).

Post World War II

After World War II, when the Soviet Unionmarker had extended its influence across Eastern Europe, the airline TARS (Transporturi Aeriene Româno-Sovietice) was established on 8 August 1945, jointly-owned by the governments of Romania and the Soviet Union. Domestic operations were started from Bucharest (Baneasa Airportmarker) on 1 February 1946. The company's Soviet share was purchased by Romania and, on 18 September 1954, the airline adopted the name of TAROM - (Transporturi Aeriene Române - Romanian Air Transport). By 1960, TAROM was flying to a dozen cities across Europe. 1966 saw the operation of its first trans-Atlantic flight. On May 14, 1974, it launched a regular service to New York Citymarker - (JFK International Airport).

Being part of the group of the airlines belonging to Soviet Bloc states, TAROM operated Soviet-design Li-2, Ilyushin Il-14, Ilyushin Il-18, Ilyushin Il-62, Antonov An-24, and Tupolev Tu-154 aircraft. An exception was made in 1968 when it bought the BAC One Eleven in 1968 for European and Middle East destinations, and in 1974 when TAROM acquired Boeing 707 aircraft for its long haul operations. In 1978 a contract was signed with the UK to manufacture the BAC One Eleven near Bucharest. Meantime the 707 and Il-62 long range aircraft were operating New-York (via Amsterdam, later London and finally Vienna), Abu-Dhabi-Bangkok-Singapore, and Karachi-Beijing. TAROM was the only Soviet Bloc airline to operate flights to Tel Avivmarker, Israelmarker.

The 1990s

It was only after the collapse of the Communist Party in 1989 that the airline was able to acquire more Western-built jets. By 1993, TAROM had introduced long haul flights to Montrealmarker and Bangkokmarker, using Ilyushin Il-62, and Airbus A310 aircraft.

During the 1990s, TAROM replaced its long-haul fleet of Boeing 707s and IL-62s with two new A310 aircraft and a third one in lease. In 2001 the airline cancelled its non-profitable long haul services to Bangkok and Montreal and also terminated services to its remaining intercontinental destinations of Beijing (in 2003), Chicagomarker (in 2002), and New York City (in 2003).

TAROM terminated loss-making domestic services to Craiovamarker, Tulceamarker, Caransebeşmarker, and Constanţamarker) and focused its activity on service to key destinations in Europe and the Middle East. 2004 was the first profitable year of the last decade.

Today

TAROM is recovering from a difficult period that began in the 1990s, when losses of up to $68 million a year were registered, caused by unprofitable routes. At the beginning of the new millennium, the airline initiated a program that was aimed at restoring profitability. This was achieved by terminating loss-making intercontinental services.

TAROM has decided to focus its operations on Bucharest (Henri Coandă International Airportmarker) (OTP) and Cluj-Napoca International Airportmarker (CLJ). Codeshare agreements with foreign partner airlines are in place for several international routes. To meet competition from Carpatair, which uses the city of Timişoaramarker in Western Romania as its hub city, TAROM has initiated direct international flights from Sibiumarker and Cluj-Napocamarker. In June 2005 it was announced as one of the future associate members of SkyTeam alliance, initially due to join by 2006, now June 2010. A fleet upgrade program started in 2006 with the acquisition of the first two Airbus A318 (from a total of four ordered) which resulted in a fleet increase from 16 planes (in Nov. 2006) to 22 (as of 2007) and 26 (2009).

In May 2008 Tarom was once again endorsed as a soon-to-be SkyTeam associate member, this time by Air France.

The airline has a frequent flyer programme Smart Miles.

Destinations

The airline serves 49 destinations in 22 countries (Europe, Middle East and northern Africa) including 11 domestic destinations. The busiest domestic routes are Bucharest - Cluj-Napoca (operated with Boeing 737, Airbus A318 and ATR 42) and Bucharest - Timişoara (mostly operated with ATR 42, sometimes with Airbus A310).

Fleet

The TAROM fleet consists of the following aircraft (at 23 July 2009):
TAROM Fleet
Aircraft Total Passengers
(Business/Economy)
Routes Notes
Airbus A310-300 2 209 (20/189) Charter, Timişoara
Airbus A318-111 4 113 (14/99) Europe, domestic (Cluj Napoca, Timişoara)
Boeing 737-300 4 116 (14/102)
124 (10/114)
138 (0/138) (Charter configuration)

Europe, charter, domestic (Cluj Napoca)
Boeing 737-700 4 116 (14/102) Europe, Middle East, Africa, domestic (Cluj Napoca) All to be retrofitted with winglets
Boeing 737-800 3 186 (0/186) Amman, Barcelona, Dubai, Larnaca, Madrid, Tel Aviv, Timişoara Equipped with winglets
ATR 42-500 7 48 (10/38) Domestic/International short haul
ATR 72-500 2 68 (0/68) Domestic/International short haul (Budapest)


Fleet expansion 2006 - 2009

In autumn 2006 TAROM's fleet counted 16 airplanes (9 Boeing 737 classic & NG and 7 ATR 42-500).In November and December 2006, TAROM took delivery of its first two Airbus A318-111, becoming only the second commercial operator of this type of aircraft in Europe, after Air France. In the fall of 2007, two more Airbus A318 have joined the fleet, bringing the total number of aircraft to four. The Airbus A318 planes are being used on routes from Bucharest to Brusselsmarker, Frankfurtmarker, Munichmarker, Parismarker and Viennamarker .
Following airline's decision to cancel its long-haul operations TAROM's both Airbus A310 aircraft were grounded between 2003 and 2007 in Otopeni Airport.

In 2008, after reintroducing them to the fleet, TAROM realized their inefficiency and decided to sell them.

TAROM Executives stated discussions with Airbus and Boeing are still underway, but 3 Boeing 737-800 have been chosen as replacements and joined the fleet over the course of three months, beginning in November 2008, with the last one being delivered on January 24, 2009..

In order to meet demand on the domestic market, the airline decided to expand its fleet with 2 ATR 72-500 which joined the fleet in the first semester of 2009.


The average fleet age of the TAROM fleet is 8.7 years.

Retired fleet

Airbus A318 "Aurel Vlaicu", the first aircraft painted in the current colour scheme (Nov.
2006)


Maintenance

TAROM - Technical Division is an aircraft maintenance provider. It employs 800 staff and specializes in maintaining ATR, Boeing 737 series, Airbus A310 and A320 aircraft. Other maintenance providers in Romania are Aerostar SA in Bacăumarker and Romaero located at Băneasa Airportmarker, Bucharest.

Codeshare agreements

TAROM has codeshare agreements with the following airlines as of November 2009:



Alliances

In 2006 TAROM was scheduled to join SkyTeam as an associate member (sponsored by Alitalia), but the entry into the alliance was postponed until 2008. On 7 May 2008 SkyTeam signed a SkyTeam Alliance Associate Adherence Agreement (SAAAA) agreement with the TAROM, indicating the airline is on the track to join the alliance as an Associate airline.

As of November 2009, the move is scheduled for June 2010.

Livery

TAROM logo in the 1970s
  • The TAROM logo, representing a swallow in flight, has been used on all TAROM aircraft since 1954.


  • In the 1970s livery the logo on the tail was painted in red, with a red cheatline.


  • The livery introduced in the early 1990s (on the Airbus A310 aircraft) is a eurowhite scheme with the titles and the tailfin painted in dark blue.


  • Today's color scheme (introduced in 2006 on the A318) is a slightly modified version of the previous one, with an oversized logo on the tailfin, and the engine pods also painted in dark blue.


  • All aircraft in the TAROM fleet receive a "name" which is a Romanian toponym. For instance, the names of the ATR aircraft in the fleet are related to the rivers of Romaniamarker, the Boeing aircraft bear names of Romanian cities, the Airbus long-haul aircraft bear Romanian historical province names, while the new Airbus A318 bear names of Romanian aviation pioneers


  • In 2009, marking airline's 55th aniversary, a Boeing 737-700 (YR-BGG "Craiova") was painted in a retro jet colorscheme, representing airline's first livery used in 1950s on Lisunov Li-2 airplanes.


Incidents and accidents

  • The most serious accident occurred on 31 March 1995 when an Airbus A310-324 (YR-LCC "Muntenia") - operating a Bucharest to Brussels service - crashed soon after take-off, killing all onboard. See Tarom Flight 371marker. Several other TAROM incidents, some with fatalities, are recorded by the Aircraft Crash Record Office [24900]
  • On September 24, 1994, a Tarom Airbus A-310, Flight 381 from Bucharest on approach to Paris Orlymarker went into a sudden and uncommanded nose-up position and stalled. The crew attempted to countermand the plane's flight control system but were unable to get the nose down while remaining on course. Witnesses saw the plane climb to a tail stand, then bank sharply left, then right, then fall into a steep dive. Only when the dive produced additional speed was the crew able to recover steady flight. An investigation found that an overshoot of flap placard speed during approach, incorrectly commanded by the captain, caused a mode transition to flight level change. The auto-throttles increased power and trim went full nose-up as a result. The crew attempt at commanding the nose-down elevator could not counteract effect of stabilizer nose-up trim, and the resulting dive brought the plane from a height of 4100 feet at the time of the stall to 800 feet when the crew was able to recover command. The plane landed safely after a second approach. There were 186 people aboard. [24901], [24902]
  • On December 30. 2007 a Tarom Boeing 737-300, (YR-BGC "Constanţa") hit a car on the runway of Bucharest Henri Coandă International Airportmarker while taking off for Sharm-el-Sheikh. The plane stopped beside the runway and was severely damaged [24903]. None of the passengers was injured. Because of fog neither the tower nor the pilots saw the car belonging to staff who were repairing a runway beacon.
  • On 29 December 1974, an Antonov An-24 (YR-AMD) operating on a domestic scheduled flight from Bucharestmarker to Sibiumarker, crashed into the side of the Muntii Lotrului (22km south of Sibiu) at an altitude of 1700 m, killing all 28 passengers and 5 crew members. The crew's incorrect approach procedure execution, which lead to the aircraft drifting south off course by 20 km, while the wind was increasing turbulence was present.[24904]
  • On 7 August 1980, a Tupolev 154B-1 (YR-TPH) operating on an international scheduled flight from Bucharest Otopeni Airport (OTP), Romania, to Nouadhibou Airport (NDB), Mauritaniamarker, ditched in the water, 300m short of the runway at Nouadhibou Airport. The crew couldn't see the runway while descending through the 90m decision height. A missed approach procedure was initiated when the pilot felt contact with the what he thought was ground, but was actually water.[24905] All of the 152 passengers and 16 crew members survived the impact, but a passenger suffered a heart attack and died before he could be rescued. Most of the passengers were sailors who were going to replace the crew of two Romanian ships located on the Mauritanian coast. Many passenger swam to the land, while sharks were kept away by the vibrations of an engine which continued to function few hours after the crash.
  • On 5 September 1986, an Antonov An-24 (YR-AMF) operating on a domestic scheduled flight from Bucharest Baneasa (BBU), touched down nose wheel-first while landing at the Cluj Airport (CLJ). A fire erupted, killing three crew members who were trapped in the cockpit. The other 2 crew members and all 50 passengers survived.[24906]


References

  1. Cotidianul Press Release
  2. Airline companies in Rumania (1918-1945)
  3. CH Aviation - TAROM Fleet
  4. http://forum.fly-ra.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=264&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&start=735
  5. Airliner World January 2007
  6. http://www.bucharestherald.ro/economics/40-economics/1725-new-boeing-737-800-next-generation-airplane-in-taroms-fleet
  7. Tarom Fleet Age
  8. TAROM Technical Division
  9. Codeshare partners
  10. TAROM SIGNS AN AGREEMENT WITH SKYTEAM TO JOIN THE ALLIANCE AS ASSOCIATE AIRLINE, SkyTeam , 7 may 2008
  11. http://www.skyteam.com/news/headlines/20091021.html
  12. TAROM homepage


External links




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