Mexicana, Mexico’s national airline, revived and expands fleet

A plane of former state airline Mexicana de Aviacion receives a water salute before taking off from the military-run Felipe Angeles International Airport (AIFA) in Zumpango, Mexico, December 26, 2023. Mexico Presidency/Handout via REUTERS

Mexico officially relaunched the former state-owned airline, Mexicana de Aviacion, on Tuesday, unveiling plans to expand its fleet by 10 additional aircraft next year, according to government sources.

The announcement took place during President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s daily press briefing, where a video showcased a Mexicana Boeing 737-800 departing from the Felipe Angeles International Airport (AIFA) north of Mexico City en route to the Tulum beach resort.

Currently managed by the Defence Ministry, Mexicana operates with three owned planes and two leased ones. However, Defence Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval revealed plans to increase the fleet by 10 through leasing agreements in the coming year. Sandoval mentioned that the newly leased planes are expected to join the airline in the initial months of 2024.

In addition to leasing, Mexicana is engaged in discussions with Boeing for a potential order of new planes, a process that could span approximately two years for the planes to become operational. Sandoval did not disclose the specific number of aircraft Mexicana is considering acquiring from Boeing.

This strategic move marks the latest initiative by President Lopez Obrador to transfer traditionally civilian-led responsibilities, including airports, railways, natural parks, and hotels, to the armed forces.

“We need a robust institution of the Mexican state to oversee the management of all these new public works aimed at the country’s development, funded by the contributions of all Mexicans,” emphasized Lopez Obrador during the news conference.

Mexicana will operate its flights from the military-operated AIFA, which was inaugurated by Lopez Obrador in the previous year. The airline, which faced bankruptcy in 2010 after privatization, is part of the president’s commitment to revitalize it, providing affordable travel options. In August, the government acquired the Mexicana brand for $48 million, and recently, a company under the Defence Ministry took control of four additional local airports, supplementing the seven it already manages.

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