TAROM (Romanian pronunciation: [taˈrom]; legally Compania Națională de Transporturi Aeriene Române TAROM S.A.) is the flag carrier and oldest currently operating airline of Romania, based in Otopeni near Bucharest. Its headquarters and its main hub are at Henri Coandă International Airport. It is currently the first and largest airline operating in Romania based on international destinations, international flights and the third-largest measured by fleet size and passengers carried.
|Hubs||Henri Coandă International Airport|
|Frequent-flyer program||Flying Blue|
|Destinations||52 (including 2017 charter destinations)|
|Headquarters||Otopeni, Ilfov County, Romania|
|Key people||Ursu Mihăiță, CEO (acting)|
|Revenue||315 million € (2019)|
|Operating income||-35.8 million € (2019) (estimated)|
The brand name is an acronym for Romanian: Transporturile Aeriene Române (Romanian Air Transport). Over ninety-seven percent (97.22%) of TAROM is owned by the Romanian Government (Ministry of Transport). The airline transported almost 2.75 million passengers in 2018, with an average load factor of 74%. The airline joined SkyTeam on 25 June 2010.
The history of the Romanian National Air Transport Company can be traced back to 1920, when CFRNA - (French-Romanian Company for Air Navigation) was founded. On 13 April 1920, the company registered its headquarters at 194 Rue Rivoli, in Paris. A decree issued on 26 April 1920 establishes Direcțiunea Aviației (The Directorate of Aviation), in the subordination of the Ministry of Communications. In the same year, the Kingdom of Romania offered CFRNA exploitation rights. The country offered the airline two aerodromes: one in Arad, and another one in Bucharest-Băneasa. The airline used French-built Potez 15 aircraft for its passenger/mail service between Paris and Bucharest via several cities in Central Europe. In 1925, the city of Galați became the first destination in Romania served by regular flights followed, from 24 June 1926, by an extended service to Iași and Chișinău. 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 Național de Navigație Aeriană, The National Air Navigation Service). On 9 July 1930, the company adopted the name LARES (Liniile Aeriene Române Exploatate de Stat, Romanian State-Operated Air Lines) while 20 July 1937 saw the merger of LARES with its competitor, SARTA (Societatea Anonimă Română de Transporturi Aeriene).
Immediately after World War II, in 1945, when the Soviet Union had extended its influence across Eastern Europe, a new reorganization replaced LARES with TARS (Transporturi Aeriene Româno-Sovietice), jointly owned by the governments of Romania and the Soviet Union. Domestic operations were started from Bucharest (Băneasa Airport) on 1 February 1946, when TARS took overall air services and aircraft from LARES.
Over the following decade, the company's Soviet share was purchased by the Romanian government 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 transatlantic flight. On 14 May 1974, it launched a regular service to New York City (John F. Kennedy International Airport).
Being part of the regional group of airlines within Eastern Bloc states meant that for much of its history TAROM has operated Soviet-designed aircraft. These included Lisunov Li-2s, Ilyushin Il-14s, Ilyushin Il-18 long-range turboprops, Ilyushin Il-62 long-range jet airliners, Antonov An-24 regional turboprops, and Tupolev Tu-154 medium-range tri-jets. As was the case with several other nations, the Il-62 was the first long-range jet airliner to be put into operation by Romania, in 1973. Five examples (three Il-62s and two later version Il-62Ms) were owned by TAROM, which also leased the aircraft to other operators.
An exception to Soviet-built aircraft was made in 1968, when TAROM bought six BAC One-Eleven 400s for European and Middle East destinations, and in 1974 when it acquired Boeing 707 aircraft to share its long-haul operations with the Il-62. Plans were made to acquire Vickers VC10 aircraft as well, but in the end, the Soviets did not allow it, and made them buy the Il-62 instead. With 59 aircraft in operation, in the late '70s, TAROM had the largest fleet in the Eastern Bloc, after Aeroflot.
In 1978, a contract was signed with the UK enabling Rombac to manufacture the BAC One Eleven at Romaero, near Bucharest. Meanwhile, 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 Eastern Bloc airline to operate flights to Tel Aviv, Israel.
During the mid 1980s, TAROM leased Tupolev Tu-154 jets to Guyana Airways and also supported these aircraft which were operated in scheduled passenger service between Georgetown, Guyana in South America and both Miami and New York City.
After the collapse of the communist regime in 1989, the airline, operating a fleet of 65 aircraft of six basic types, was able to acquire more Western-built jets. In 1992, TAROM bought 3 Airbus A310 planes, nicknamed: "Transilvania" (YR-LCA), "Moldova" (YR-LCB) and "Muntenia" (YR-LCC). By 1993, TAROM had introduced long-haul flights to Montreal and Bangkok using Ilyushin Il-62 and Airbus A310 aircraft. The YR-LCC Airbus A310 joined TAROM's fleet on 10 April 1994, to then crash near Balotești on 31 March 1995.
During the 1990s, TAROM replaced its long-haul fleet of Boeing 707s and IL-62s with Airbus A310s (the last Il-62 being sold in 1999).
TAROM is recovering from a difficult period that began in the 1990s when losses of up to $68 million per year were registered, caused by unprofitable routes. At the beginning of the new millennium, the airline initiated a programme that was aimed at restoring profitability. This was achieved by terminating loss-making intercontinental services. 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 Chicago in 2002, and Beijing and New York City in 2003. TAROM terminated loss-making domestic services to Craiova, Tulcea, Caransebeș, and Constanța, and focused its activity on service to key destinations in Europe and the Middle East. TAROM has decided to focus its operations on Bucharest (Henri Coandă International Airport) (OTP) and Cluj-Napoca International Airport (CLJ), and initiated direct international flights from Sibiu International Airport. 2004 was the first profitable year of the last decade. By 2005, TAROM tried selling its A310 fleet three times, which was being preserved since 2003.
From 2003 till 2007, the airline spent €1 million per year to preserve "Moldova" and "Transilvania".[clarification needed] In 2007, TAROM modernized its two Airbus A310 planes at the Airbus plant in Bordeaux. After being reconditioned, the pair was used in medium-haul flights, which weren't successful.
The airline had a frequent-flyer programme "Smart Miles", which was turned into Flying Blue on 5 June 2010. Codeshare agreements with foreign partner airlines are in place for several international routes. On 25 June 2010, TAROM joined SkyTeam as the alliance's thirteenth member.
Starting with November 2012, in accordance with the Romanian state-company legislation, TAROM was led by a private manager, the Belgian Christian Heinzmann occupying the positions of CEO and Accountable Manager until March 2016. During Heinzmann's leadership, the company reduced its financial losses by more than 75%, grew its yearly passenger number to a record 2.4 million and stabilised its load-factor around 70%. However, broad reforms like the fleet renewal and harmonisation, as well as the establishment of profit centers such as the TAROM Maintenance and TAROM Charter services, were not accomplished due to a constant lack of a decision from the company's board of administrators.
On 12 September and 29 October 2016, TAROM retired their remaining two Airbus A310-300s after final flights from Madrid to Bucharest. The A310s will be replaced with new smaller aircraft. In May 2017, TAROM received its first of two leased Boeing 737-800s. Another two ex-Malaysian Airlines 737-800 were added to the fleet in 2018 and a contract for five Boeing 737 MAX 8 was signed with deliveries stated to begin in 2023. On 27 December 2019, the Ministry of Transport announced that 9 new ATR 72-600 leased from Nordic Aviation Capital for a 10 year-period would replace the existent ATR 42-500 and 72-500, manufactured in 1999–2000 and 2009, respectively. TAROM received the first four aircraft in February 2020, with the first one, registered with code YR-ATJ, landing in Bucharest on 18 February 2020, at 2:50 PM EET.
TAROM was directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, ceasing temporarily all scheduled operations starting with 25 March 2020. TAROM operated flights for the Romanian Government during the state of emergency, bringing some medical equipments from China. After the state of emergency expired, TAROM resumed scheduled operations from May 2020.
TAROM is a state-owned company, with shareholding structure as follows:
|The Romanian Government (held through the Ministry of Transport)||97.22%|
|Bucharest Airports National Company||1.46%|
|ROMATSA R.A.(Romanian Air Traffic Services Administration)||1.24%|
|Societatea de Investiții Financiare Muntenia||0.08%|
Figures for recent years are shown below (for years ending 31 December):
|Number of employees (average for year)||2,289||2,333||2,338||2,471||2,517||2,353||2,200||2,070||2,006||1,969||1,880||1,841||1,776||1,773||1,750|
|Number of passengers (m)||1.12||1.40||1.45||1.89||1.98||1.72||2.20||2.19||2.19||2.10||2.33||2.39||2.41||2.34||2.85||3.12|
|Passenger load factor (%)||63.6||61.0||62.3||67.2||61.9||55.6||60.9||60.6||66.0||65.9||66.0||70.0||68.1||71.6||74||74.9|
|Number of aircraft (at year end)||16||18||20||22||24||26||26||26||24||24||24||23||21||23||25||25|
The TAROM logo, representing a swallow in flight, has been used on all TAROM aircraft since 1954. The 1970s livery had the logo on the tail painted in red, with a red cheatline. The livery introduced in the early 1990s (on the Airbus A310 aircraft) is an overall-white scheme with the titles and the tailfin painted in dark blue. The current colour 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 Romania, the Boeing aircraft bear names of Romanian cities, the Airbus long-haul aircraft bear Romanian historical province names, while the Airbus A318s bear names of Romanian aviation pioneers.
In 2009, marking the airline's 55th anniversary, a Boeing 737-700 (YR-BGG "Craiova") was painted in a retro jet colour scheme, representing the airline's first livery used in the 1950s on Lisunov Li-2 aircraft.
The TAROM Technical Division provides aircraft maintenance services for the entire fleet of the company and the fleet of other national and international companies. The objective of TAROM Technical Department is to be the best and the most efficient, in terms of costs, maintenance service provider for Boeing 737, ATR 42 and ATR 72 aircraft in Central and Eastern Europe. The services provided by the TAROM Technical Department include unscheduled maintenance works, scheduled maintenance works and repair works for spare parts.
The major maintenance activity is performed in the hangar of the technical department, built between 1969 and 1972, with an area of 6,000 m2 and restored in 2000 to fully comply with EASA (European Safety Aviation Agency) and FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) standards. The hangar is equipped to perform all types of inspections for TAROM fleet, and the personnel is qualified and licensed for all types of aircraft in the fleet. Maintenance activities for 3 to 6 aircraft, depending on their size, may be carried out simultaneously in the hangar. The hangar is equipped with a full MERO system for B737 docking.
The most important maintenance capacities of the TAROM Technical Department include full maintenance services for Boeing 737 and ATR42/72 aircraft, inspection capacity type C for Airbus A310 and A318 aircraft, total painting, interior cleaning, modifications.
The technical department also provides safe storage facilities for spare parts and materials necessary for maintenance activity, dedicated spaces for chemicals, special tools and testing equipment, and quarantine spaces. The TAROM Technical Department also provides conveyance services (packaging, preparation of documents, customs) and acceptance services (customs, disassembly, and reception inspection) for various substances and equipment.
The airline directly operates 50 destinations including charter and seasonal services in 22 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Northern Africa including 8 domestic destinations. The airline's flights to the USA ceased in 2003 and are now operated under a codeshare agreement with Air France via Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport.
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 that year, SkyTeam signed a SkyTeam Alliance Associate Adherence Agreement (SAAAA) with TAROM. On 22 June 2010, SkyTeam announced that it had renewed its membership program, thereby making TAROM a future full member of the alliance. On 25 June 2010, TAROM became a full member of SkyTeam.
As of January 2022[update], the TAROM fleet consists of the following aircraft:
|Airbus A318-100||4||—||14||99||113||To be retired.|
|Boeing 737-700||4||—||14||102||116||To be retired.|
|Boeing 737 MAX 8||—||5||TBA||Deliveries planned from 2023.|
To replace Airbus A318 and Boeing 737-700.
TAROM had been planning to lease three widebody aircraft to resume long-haul operations to China and the United States after the withdrawal of its Airbus A310s. The Request For Proposals (RFP) to leasing firms ended on 31 August 2017.
TAROM has agreed to lease 9 ATR 72-600 aircraft from Nordic Aviation Capital, with deliveries expected from October 2019 until 2021. They are to replace existing ATR 42-500 and ATR 72-500 aircraft.
During its history, TAROM also operated the following aircraft types:
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