The Dubai-based airline Emirates has 10-days to appeal a decision by a Mexican court to block its new planned service between Barcelona and Mexico City. Yesterday, Aeromexico won an injunction against its rival which effectively stops Emirates beginning flights between the two cities until a 2016 air services agreement between Mexico and the UAE has been reviewed by the country’s parliament.
After years of wrangling, Emirates finally announced in July that it would begin what’s called a “fifth-freedom” service between Barcelona and Mexico City. The inaugural flight was expected to depart on 9th December using the carrier’s recently refurbished a two-class Boeing 777-200 aircraft.
Emirates has wanted to begin flights between Europe and Mexico City for several years but has faced fierce opposition from Mexican flag-carrier Aeromexico – despite the fact that Aeromexico didn’t even operate its own services between the two cities until earlier this year. The decision for Aeromexico to enter the market is believed to have been a direct response to the threat posed by Emirates.
For its part, Emirates says it has wanted to provide connectivity for a long time but because of Mexico’s high altitude, it is impossible to fly direct from the Mexican capital to Dubai. As a result, it sought permission from the Mexican government to open up a fifth-freedom flight via Barcelona where it can drop-off and pick-up passengers. Mexico’s aviation authority finally granted final approval for the route earlier this year.
Scott Lantz, Emirates’ area manager for the Mexico region told reporters yesterday that the airline still intended to start its new service in December pending the outcome of a court appeal.
Javier Jimenez Espriu of Mexico’s Ministry of Transport has indicated that his department will authorise Emirates’ fifth-freedom service but the Association of Mexican Pilots has welcomed the court’s intervention. According to Mexican newspaper El Universal, the union said in a statement (translated from Spanish):
“Emirates intends to take advantage of a market that does not belong to it, violating national sovereignty and opening the door for other airlines to do the same by invading the Mexican market and harming national airlines.”