MIAMI — Turkish Airlines has confirmed its intentions to link its new Istanbul Airport with Mexico City and Cancun with its brand-new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
This flight, scheduled to launch on August 22, represents the first nonstop connection between Mexico and a Middle Eastern destination.
Even though the carrier has advertised that the flight will be operated with its newest 787-9 aircraft, the inaugural flight is scheduled on a Boeing 777-300(ER). The second rotation, scheduled for August 25, is listed on a 787-9 Dreamliner, however.
Turkish Airlines Into Mexico
Back in October 2018, the airline said it was working to conclude agreements and permits that would allow them to reach Mexico City—the airline’s 265th international and 317th worldwide destination—reinforcing its status as the airline with the broadest international network.
Turkish Airlines, who is known to practice intermediate stop on several long-haul routes in the Americas and the Caribbean, will add both Mexico City and Cancun to its ever-growing network. The airline also flies to Caracas via Havana, and to Panama City via Bogota.
The Turkish carrier notes that the flight schedule for this long-haul service will depart Istanbul (IST) at 20:55, landing in Mexico City (MEX) early morning at 04:10. The return flight will depart MEX at 05:30, making a refueling stop in Cancun (CUN) to then leave back to IST at 09:20.
It is unclear why the airline chose such an inconvenient timing for its arrivals and departures out of MEX. It is highly likely that Mexico City International Airport’s severe congestion and slot restrictions might have played an important role.
Also, it is likely that the airline has chosen to stop in CUN on its way to IST because of Mexico City’s high elevation, which could curtail the Dreamliner’s capability of reaching the final destination (a 7,000-mile journey) at near maximum takeoff weight.
Turkish Airlines’ entry into Mexico is not entirely new. Since October 3, 2018, Turkish Cargo has also carried out air cargo operations between the Mexican capital and Istanbul, with two one-way routes: Istanbul-Mexico City via a stop in Madrid, and the Mexico City-Istanbul via stops in Bogotá, Curaçao, and Maastricht (Holland).
Emirates Ahead Of Turkish Airlines In Mexico?
Last month, Emirates announced that following lengthy government evaluations, services to MEX via Barcelona will begin. The airline’s newest route will commence on a daily basis from December 9.
Last year, the Dubai-based carrier had dropped its plans to operate flights between Dubai (DXB) and Mexico City (MEX) via a stop in Barcelona (BCN).
The Fifth Freedom flights had originally been approved by the Spanish government, which would grant the Emirati carrier a Dubai-Barcelona-Mexico City link.
However, in September, Emirates asserted that the route was not commercially viable, as the agreement only managed to secure three weekly flights and not daily operations.
“Emirates regrets to confirm that we have withdrawn our application to operate flights from Dubai to Mexico via an intermediate stop in Spain,” said the airline in a statement.
However, once the airline reached an agreement to initiate daily operations into MEX, things changed. “We are excited to be able to introduce new air connectivity between Dubai and Mexico,” said Tim Clark, Emirates boss.
“The availability of high-quality, daily international air services is essential for the development of tourism, business, and cultural ties. Trade, especially in high-value and time-sensitive products, will be facilitated by the ample cargo capacity on Emirates’ Boeing 777 aircraft.”
Even though Turkish Airlines will initiate flying into MEX almost three months ahead of Emirates, looks like the Dubai-based carrier will have not only better time slots (arriving into MEX at 16:15 and departing back at 19:40), but also a daily operation that will guarantee a higher number of seats to the Middle East and onwards.
And as Mexico City continues coping with congestion and the sudden cancellation of its New Mexico City Airport project, things are about to get tighter.