On September 18th, TAROM celebrated its 65th anniversary. On this occasion, Madalina Mezei, the airline’s CEO, made some comments about the resumption of long-haul flights, also speaking about what TAROM aims to become in the near future.
Next week, TAROM will apply for landing slots at New York JFK and Chicago O’Hare, with the aim of restarting flights to the US next summer. If this happens, TAROM is working now at various scenarios concerning the widebody aircraft to operate these flights with. The airline is leaning towards ACMI (Aircraft, Complete Crew, Maintenance and Insurance), also known as wet-lease. ACMI leasing is an agreement between two airlines, where the lessor agrees to provide an aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance (ACMI) to the lessee in return for payment on the number of block hours operated.
ACMI provides the lessee with additional or replacement capacity, even at short notice, and can provide a flexible solution to immediate and strategic capacity requirements. The main advantage of wet leasing is flexibility. Subject to availability, lease operations can be started quickly – filling immediate capacity requirements. A wet lease can be used over longer periods – providing supplemental seasonal availability. Wet leasing is ideal for testing new routes and markets, without having to invest heavily in new aircraft and crew first.
In the past, TAROM’s officials and sources close to the company said it might operate long-haul flights with leased 787 Dreamliners, Boeing 777s or Airbus A330s, but we have yet to see this happen. What we know for sure and have covered it on Aeronews: two TAROM officials went to the United States in October 2018 to have a look at two stored 787s, N947BA and VP-CSC, info confirmed by the airline. Until then, 9 ATR 72-600s will start arriving in TAROM’s fleet beginning this Fall.
For China, TAROM is looking to forge a partnership with SkyTeam fellow member Xiamen Airlines, which is “very interested” in starting flights to Bucharest. A code-share flight TAROM – Xiamen Airlines would see Xiamen’s 787 Dreamliners (12 in the fleet, 167 Boeing aircraft in total) land in Bucharest, then return to China with numerous connecting opportunities for passengers to Japan, Korea, Philippines and other destinations. TAROM pegs the resumption of flights to China also for summer 2020.
Speaking about what TAROM aims to become, Madalina Mezei stated: “TAROM wants to become an efficient and responsible airline, regional leader and a viable alternative to Romanian communities from all over the world. An airline which offers regional, European and intercontinental connectivity and a fair, quality service.”
The complete interview can be read on Imperator Travel. 787 rendering: George Macasoi.