DALLAS – The military of Mexico has a new plan up its sleeve and it’s a non-military one – starting a new commercial airline.
Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the president of the country, mentioned on Tuesday that the military-run airline could take off in about a year and operate a fleet of 10 leased aircraft, including the presidential Boeing 787 jet.
“An airline is being considered,” the president said, as stated on ABC News, adding it could be named “Mexicana” after a defunct, partly state-owned carrier that went into bankruptcy in 2010, or “something to do with Mexico.”
“The economics of it, the feasibility, is being analyzed,” he added. “It is very likely that the new airline will be ready next year.”
The initial news of the proposed airline was apparently leaked by the Guacamaya hacker group, and soon enough, the President confirmed the plan did exist.
López Obrador, who shuttles around on regular commercial flights, has criticized the presidential Boeing 787 jet, calling it an insult to the people.
Ever since 2018, Obrador has been trying to sell the Boeing 787 that was purchased for about US$218m during former president Felipe Calderon’s term in office, but the only one who used it was his successor, Enrique Pena Nieto. The Dreamliner, with its VIP configuration, seats up to 80 members.
In June of this year, Obrador commented in his morning press conference that he had offered the Boeing 787 TP-01 to the government of Argentina, but that the latter rejected it because its value was much higher than the budget available for the renewal of the latter’s presidential aircraft. Obrador did not get rid of the plane, whose maintenance costs clock at US$1.2m a year.
The Mexican army seems to want to have a big part in economic growth through tourism. Besides the airline, the force is also tasked with building airports, trains, and hotel chains.
“This company, which is named Olmeca-Maya-Mexica, is going to operate the airport in Chetumal, the airport in Palenque,” López Obrador said, referring to other cities on the train route. Obrador suggested the new carrier might also serve one of the classic roles of state-owned carriers: providing service to provincial airports on routes that commercial airlines consider unprofitable.
“There are cities where there once were flights and there aren’t anymore,” he said.
Apart from boosting traffic at the currently underused Felipe Angeles terminal, the army-run airline would apparently provide flights to feed passengers into the Maya Train tourism project.
Featured image: Michal Mendyk/Airways