DALLAS — After a two-year plus hiatus, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reinstated Mexico’s category 1 aviation safety rating, which now allows Mexican-based airlines to expand their network to the United States of America.
The Mexican airline market is dominated by rapidly growing low-cost carriers such as Volaris (Y4) and Viva Aerobus (VB). This market has recently undergone liberalization, with a total of 79.9 million passengers served by the Mexican market from January to August 2023.
However, Aeromexico (AM), the national flag carrier, remains the sole full-service operator in the country and leads the international front. It is also the only airline that operates widebody aircraft on long-haul routes.
Given the FAA Category 1 safety rating, cross-border traffic to the US is crucial for all Mexican carriers, regardless of their operational nature. In this context, we will explore how Aeromexico positions itself not only in terms of US flights but also in its progress in the post-pandemic era.
Giancarlo Mulinelli, Senior Vice President of Global Sales at Aeromexico, shares insights in an interview with Airways correspondent Siddharth Ganesh.
How would you compare where Aeromexico is today to the same time last year?
Today, we are a stronger, more agile, and more resilient company that operates by applying all the lessons learned from the past crisis. We have a robust operation in place with more than 100 domestic and international routes, operating in 47 airports in Mexico—more domestic destinations than any other airline.
In regard to fleet size, we have the largest fleet in nearly 90 years of history, with over 150 aircraft and an average fleet age of 7.5 years. Year-to-date, we have transported 20.7% more passengers than in the same period last year.
|Passengers transported||20.6 Million||21.7 Million||16.5 Million|
|Operations||approx 500 daily flights||approx 520 daily flights||approx 560 daily flights|
Mexico’s low-cost market has been rapidly growing post-pandemic. How do you intend to gain sufficient domestic market share?
Aeromexico is Mexico’s only legacy and premium carrier, and we understand that for many travelers, this is a competitive advantage. So, we focus on this market niche.
Furthermore, our fare structure (branded fares) allows us to offer a more diversified range of options according to each customer’s needs, and through this, we provide a variety of personalized services and fares. Customers seeking essential travel to those desiring all the comforts and amenities. We would like to ensure there is an Aeromexico for everyone.
FAA has granted Mexico the Category 1 Safety rating once again, which allows you to expand your network to the United States. How does this growth span out?
The Aeromexico-Delta JCA will expand its operations between Mexico and the United States. Beginning January 2024, Aeromexico will gradually introduce 17 new routes from seven airports in Mexico to nine destinations in the U.S., and all these flights will be supported by Delta codeshare.
With the new routes and increased frequencies to current destinations, the Mexican airline plans to operate nearly 60 daily frequencies to the United States by July 2024, representing a 35% increase in departures compared to 2023, with a presence in 36 U.S. markets. Delta is planning to operate 34 daily frequencies to Mexico in July 2024, serving seven different Mexican destinations.
By 2024, the Aeromexico-Delta JCA will offer over 90 daily flights between Mexico and the United States on nearly 60 routes. Aeromexico’s increase in routes and frequencies is made possible thanks to its renewed fleet of more than 50 new aircraft, most of them Boeing 737 MAX, which enables it to continue elevating travel to an extraordinary experience.
This is in addition to the previously communicated growth in which Aeromexico will have more than 1,000 monthly flights at Felipe Angeles International Airport (AIFA), starting in October.
Our fleet renewal plan continues. By the end of this year, we project to have 153 aircraft. Today, we have the strongest fleet in our 89-year history. In recent years, we have made a significant effort to increase the number of aircraft and make them more efficient, comfortable, modern, and environmentally friendly. Since 2021, we have received 50 new aircraft.Giancarlo Mulinelli
Europe-bound flight seems to be your positive arm. Are there new trends and potential new destinations under consideration?
We are the only national airline connecting Mexico to Europe. Currently, we have seven direct routes connecting Mexico City, Monterrey, and Guadalajara to
Madrid, London, Amsterdam, Paris, and our most recent addition, Rome.
Our operations on the continent have grown healthily by almost 30% in terms of seat capacity and flights compared to 2022. We are always attentive to new opportunities to expand our network of destinations, provided market conditions allow. However, for now, our efforts are focused on strengthening Aeromexico’s presence in the destinations where we already operate.
To conclude, how have costs been for you this year?
A significant lesson we learned during the restructuring process was how to become a more efficient and leaner company, allowing us to reduce our operational costs. Aviation is a sector with various volatile inputs; however, we have gained the ability to adapt to the environment much more quickly than before.
Featured image: N438AM Aeromexico Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner 789 at JFK. Photo: Francesco Cecchetti/airways