TACA Airlines Fined For Violating Price Advertising Rules


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TACA Airlines Fined For Violating Price Advertising Rules

By Shane Nolan

June 5, 2011 - The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) assessed a civil penalty against TACA International Airlines for violating the Department’s rules prohibiting deceptive advertising of airfares. The company was assessed a $55,000 civil penalty. 

“Consumers have a right to know the full price they will be paying for air fares,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. “We established airline price advertising rules to protect the consumer and will take enforcement action when these rules are violated.” 

DOT requires any advertising that includes a price for air transportation to state the full price to be paid by the consumer. The only exception, which will end on Oct. 24 due to a recently adopted DOT rule, is for government-imposed taxes and fees that are assessed on a per-passenger basis, such as passenger facility charges.

If these taxes and fees are listed separately, the first mention in an advertisement of a fare must clearly disclose that the price does not include these charges and list their amounts.  

For Internet listings, these taxes and fees may be disclosed through a prominent link next to the stated fare that notes that taxes and fees are extra, and takes viewers directly to a location where the type and amount of the charges is displayed. The rules apply to both U.S. and foreign carriers as well as ticket agents. 

For a period of time in 2010 and this year, TACA used a program on its website that allowed consumers to search for flights on exact or flexible dates. Searches by both methods produced airfare quotes noting that the fares did not include taxes and fees, but TACA failed to disclose the type and amount of the taxes and fees as required by DOT rules. 

TACA is the trade name "brand" comprising a group of five independently IATA-coded and -owned Central American airlines, whose operations are combined to function as one and a number of other independently owned and IATA-coded regional airlines which code-share and feed the TACA brand system.  

TACA, originally an acronym of Transportes Aéreos Centroamericanos (Central American Air Transport), now stands for Transportes Aéreos del Continente Americano (Air Transport of the American Continent), reflecting its expansion to North, Central, South America and the Caribbean. It flies to 44 destinations in 22 different countries.


TACA received three Skytrax World Airline Awards crowning the airline as "Best Airline in Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean", "Best Crew in Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean", "Best Regional Airline in Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean" in 2009 and 2010. TACA is also El Salvador's flag carrier.

The five airlines are TACA International (TA) (El Salvador), Aviateca (GU) (Guatemala), Regional (GU) - Formerly Inter it operates under Aviateca's code, Lacsa (LR) (Costa Rica) Lacsa is the only airline of the group that still operates international flights with its own flight numbers. Its hub is at Juan Santamaría International Airport in San José, Costa Rica, SANSA (RZ), Islena Airlines (WC) (Honduras), Nicaragüense de Aviación (6Y) (Nicaragua), Regional - La Costeña and TACA Perú (T0) (Peru) is now an important part of Grupo TACA.

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