MEXICO CITY, Mexico–Mexicana de Aviacion (known as Mexicana Airlines) which suspended flights four years ago due to its heavy debt load, was declared bankrupt on April 5th, paving the way to dismantle the iconic company, once one of Mexico’s top two carriers. About 30 investors sought for more than three years to rescue the airline, which has an estimated debt of $1 billion, but none proved to have the necessary funds. On Friday the 5th, the communications and work ministries said the courts had approved an agreement to proceed with the bankruptcy presented by Mexicana’s majority creditors: Mexican bank Banorte, development bank Bancomext and Mexico’s International Airport. The statement revealed no details of the agreement among creditors of Mexicana, which stopped flying 90 years after it was founded. Mexicana’s MRO maintenance base, valued at between $80 million and $100 million, will continue operating. Resources it obtains will go toward a trust that benefits Mexicana’s 8,000 workers and 600 retirees. Mexicana’s three major unions are considering a challenge to the declaration of bankruptcy, local media reported. Most of the routes once operated by Mexicana have been taken by AeroMexico, Interjet and VOLARIS.
JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia–Saudi Arabian Airlines has announced plans to expand its operations to more than 200 destinations worldwide with minimum connections. “We want to reinforce our presence in Europe, North America, Asia, especially in China and Indonesia as well as to open new markets in Russia, Mexico, Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan and Czech Republic,” said Abdul Aziz Al-Hazmi, CEO of Saudia. A future flight between Riyadh and Mexico City will be the first between Northern Latin America and the Middle East (Emirates and Qatar Airways do operate to Brazil).
MIAMI, Florida–In 2009, a professional group of airline managers acquired the intellectual property of Eastern Airlines to develop a new business plan and financing plan to re-launch the airline. The team put together a plan to re-launch Eastern to be based at Miami International Airport. It quickly established working relationships with strategic partners including the Miami Airport Authority, Amadeus and Airbus. Eastern’s relationship with Amadeus dates back to Eastern’s reservation system, called System One. This system was eventually sold by Eastern Airlines and later became the core of the Amadeus system. Eastern Airlines also has a special and unique relationship with Airbus dating to 1972, when Eastern Airlines became the launch airline customer for the Airbus A-300. The team developed a multi-level business and financing plan that is being used to raise the capital required for Eastern Airlines to certify under FAA Regulation Part 121. That work has commenced, led by one of the industry’s leading certification consultants, Locked On. Today, the new Eastern Airlines is working with various industry-leading aircraft leasing companies to assemble a fleet of A-319s and A-320s aircraft. In addition, Eastern Airlines has moved into its headquarters office space at Building 5A at Miami International Airport, which was the former “Eastern Operations Center”, a four story building at the corner of Le Jeune Road and 36th Street, and which once housed all of Eastern’s system control and maintenance control centers, and other operating units. The new Eastern Airlines is expected to operate flights from Miami International Airport to the Caribbean and Central and South America.
MANAGUA,Nicaragua–The Venezuelan flag carrier CONVIASA (Consorcio Venezolano de Industrias Aeronauticas y Servicios Aereos) started one weekly flight connecting Caracas with the Nicaraguan capital. The second Central American city after CONVIASA started daily flights to Panama City. The airline is going through expansion plans that include new Brazilian Embraer E-190s. In addition to Managua and Panama City the flag carrier connects Caracas with Bogota, Colombia; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Dominica, Grenada, Havana, Cuba; Madrid, Spain and Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago. Future cities include Georgetown, Guyana; Lima, Peru; Manaus and Sao Paulo in Brazil; Mexico City; Paramaribo,Suriname; San Jose, Costa Rica; San Salvador, El Salvador; and Santa Cruz, Bolivia. It also has been rumored CONVIASA will try to start non-stop flights to Miami, Florida or in any case via Managua. The airline has a fleet of one Airbus A-340-200, two Boeing 737-300, four Bombardier CRJ700 and six Embraer E-190s.
MEXICO CITY, Mexico — Japanese flag carrier JAL (Japan Airlines) President Yoshiharu Ueki assured the airline will start future operations to Mexico City from Tokyo. JAL was founded in 1951 and operates a fleet of 279 airplanes to 220 destinations in 35 countries. The airline plans to extend its route system up to 25% until 2017.
MEXICO CITY, Mexico. — The Mexican LCC Volaris celebrated its 7th birthday with a participation of the 22.1% of the market. Since its creation in 2006, Volaris has transported a total of 27,838,365 passengers. The airlines’ CEO, Enrique Beltranena remembered the low cost airline started with two Airbuses leased from TACA Airlines, from Toluca Airport in Mexico City to Tijuana and seven years later the carrier has 43 airliners and operates to 40 cities in Mexico and the United States. The airline is also well known as the most “cyber savvy” in Mexico with 527,971 followers in Facebook, 323,987 in Twitter and 80,200 in Google. The airline has a code-sharing agreement with the LCC Southwest Airlines and also with the German airline Condor. Volaris is owned by the Salvadoran Kriete Family (co-owners of TACA), the invest fund Discovery Americas and Indigo Partners (a fund led by the former CEO of America West, B. Franke). Volaris will be the second airline (after Avianca) to operate in Latin America the modern Airbus A-320s with “Sharklets”.
CANCUN, Mexico. — The Spanish airline AIR EUROPA has announced that it will suspend effective April 2013 its flights between Madrid and Cancun. After IBERIA decided to cancel their operations to Uruguay and Cuba, AIR EUROPA increased operations to Havana and Montevideo, plus a new service to La Paz, Bolivia. Pullmantour will be the only carrier offering the non-stop service between Madrid and the Mexican Riviera. In 2012 up to 200,000 Spaniards visited the Mexican Caribbean and it is expected that for 2013 that number can go down to 170,000.