Mexican government to buy defunct Mexicana brand: report

Mexicana Airbus A320
Aero Icarus / Flickr

The Mexican government signed an agreement with several aviation unions to buy the brand of the now-defunct country’s flagship airline Mexicana, Reuters reported citing industry sources.

Under the agreement, which was signed between Mexico’s transportation ministry and unions on January 6, 2023, Mexico plans to turn the Mexicana brand into a new military-run commercial air carrier. More than $42 million-worth deal reportedly consists of the purchase of a technical training center and a flight simulator and ensures rights for the Mexican government to use the Mexicana brand.

The new Mexican air carrier, which was supposed to launch operations in 2023, is reportedly in talks with the US aerospace manufacturer Boeing over opportunities to rent planes.

Meanwhile, the government is set to lift all legal actions against the bankrupt airline on January 9, 2023, industry sources confirmed to Reuters.

Mexicana: the world’s fourth oldest airline and Mexico’s first carrier 

The airline industry has deep roots in Mexico. Mexico was home to one of the oldest carriers in the region. The world’s fourth oldest airline and Mexico’s first carrier, Mexicana Airlines, took to the skies in 1921. Thirteen years later in 1934, Mexico’s second full-service carrier (FSC), Aeromexico, was founded.

The carriers became major rivals in Mexico. However, despite the competition, both Aeromexico and Mexicana complimented each other in terms of the markets they served. Aeromexico was serving Europe and Brazil, while Mexicana controlled destinations in Canada, Central America, and Argentina.  

However, with the growth of global air travel in the region during the mid-2000s, the situation changed.

Both airlines started competing in the same markets.  

In an interview with Flight Global in 2009, the chief executive of the now-defunct Interjet, Jose Luis Garza, predicted that either Aeromexico or Mexicana was going to fail because neither airline was able to survive the competition while operating in the same domestic and international markets.  

Eventually, Aeromexico won the race, as the country’s former flag carrier, Mexicana Airlines, ceased operating in 2010 due to financial difficulties.  

In 2011 and beyond, there was still a slim chance that Mexicana would restart its operations. But since 2010, the Mexican aviation market has grown significantly. Another profound change in the country’s aviation sector has been the growth of low-cost airlines versus traditional airlines.

The country’s key low-cost carriers such as Aeromar, Interjet, Volaris, and Viva Aerobus used Mexicana’s demise to expand. The emerging Mexican budget airlines took many of Mexicana’s domestic destinations, leaving the cash-strapped airline without a market in which to operate. Meanwhile, Aeromexico was left as Mexico’s sole full-service carrier.

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