The Mexican government’s plan to revive the defunct Mexicana airline brand has run into a snag after a lease deal for up to 10 Boeing 737 jets fell through at the last minute. As a result, the airline is now planning to launch with just two aircraft which will be provided by the military.
Mexicana ceased to exist in 2010, but earlier this year, President Andres Manual Lopez Obrador said he planned to bring back the name as a military-run airline operating low-cost domestic flights that would improve access to air travel for local people and provide an economic and jobs boost.
Obrador ordered the government to spend US $48 million to buy the rights to the brand, and the military set about planning an initial network of 20 routes that would operate from Mexico City’s new Felipe Angeles International Airport.
Core to the plan was a lease deal for 10 Boeing 737 single-aisle jets but local media outlets report that this deal has now fallen through ahead of Mexicana’s planned December 2023 launch.
To get the airline off the ground, the military will now launch Mexicana with two of its own Boeing 737s, one of which is an older 737-300 model. Officials also hope to rent an Embraer 145 regional jet from the TAR airline.
Of course, with only three planes, rather than the planned 10, Mexicana has been forced to draw back its initial route network to just nine destinations.
Tickets had already been put on sale, and refunds will be issued for passengers booked on flights that will no longer go ahead. Ticket sales are currently suspended for the remaining routes after Mexicana was told it couldn’t market services until it obtained an air operator certificate.
Mexican civil aviation regulators can’t issue an air operator certificate until it actually takes delivery of the planes.
Despite the hiccup, Mexicana still intends to launch on December 26 – less than three months after the venture was formally announced. Dependent on when it can grow its aircraft fleet, the military wants to quickly grow Mexicana’s route network to 36 destinations.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.