Giancarlo Mulinelli
Vice President of Global Sales
Aeroméxico
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Exiting Chapter 11, Aeroméxico Is Ready to Expand

By Antonio Gozain | Tue, 04/19/2022 - 13:00

Q: How has Aeromexico emerged from its Chapter 11 financial restructuring?

A: Aeromexico emerged after a 21-month process and we cannot feel prouder of how stronger and more efficient we have become. We always put our clients and strategic business partners at the center of everything we do. Over the next five years, Aeromexico will invest US$5 billion to increase its fleet and in relevant actions to consolidate customer and employee experience improvements. By the end of this year, our fleet will be bigger than it was before the pandemic.

As part of our reorganization process, Aeromexico signed a letter of intention to assume full control over its loyalty program. Over the past years, we have had a joint venture with Canada’s Aimia for many years and having the loyalty program 100 percent integrated into Aeromexico will enable us to enhance customer experience.

Q: How is Aeromexico adapting to the different needs of its clients?

A: Flexibility is a priority for our clients and we will continue pushing ourselves in that direction. We want to be an airline for everybody. Some of our clients want a full, premier experience and its benefits, while others just want to fly from point A to point B. Clients choose the experience they prefer. Aeromexico will continue to be the full-service carrier that connects Mexico with the world and the world with Mexico. We are very excited about the future.

Q: What do current air traffic figures look like and how do they compare with pre-pandemic numbers?

A: We closed 2021 with an 80 percent recovery in air traffic, approximately. In the domestic market, Aeromexico is a larger carrier today than it was before the pandemic. Domestic tourism was one of the first market segments to be reactivated. At some point, people took their offices to the beach and left cities. We are proud of how the airline adapted to the different needs that emerged.

The border market recovered much faster than others. US citizens saw an opportunity to visit amazing beach destinations in Mexico and many took time to visit friends and relatives. Also, vaccine tourism was big. Now that Aeromexico has reopened its flights to London, we have recovered all our EU destinations besides the recent opening of the Monterrey – Madrid and Guadalajara – Madrid which allows not only connect the center on Mexico but also its main cities to Europe. Recovering the Asian market remains a challenge due to the restrictions that still remain due to the pandemic, but we looking forward to be back and stronger.

The leisure market is at higher levels than before the pandemic but corporate travel has lagged a bit. However, with restrictions coming down, the overall recovery of both domestic and international flights is increasingly closer.

Q: How has Aeromexico recovered its international routes and what new markets is the airline exploring?

A: We are rebuilding our routes to Spain. We only stopped flying to Madrid two weeks out of the entire pandemic and now Aeromexico has returned to its double daily Mexico-Madrid flights. In addition, we have learned to sell cargo, which has been a unique business line for Aeromexico. Cargo helped us cover costs on many of our flights during the pandemic, opening our minds to new opportunities. Thanks to cargo and charter flights, we flew to many destinations for the first time, such as Frankfurt, Shenzen, Hong Kong, Aruba, and Kingston, among others.

During the pandemic, Aeromexico added new destinations, such as Chetumal and Puerto Escondido. We fly the Sao Paulo-Cancun route seasonally, and recently, we inaugurated the Mexico City-Tegucigalpa route. These are unique markets that we had never flown before.

Q: How do the Guadalajara-Madrid and Monterrey-Madrid routes add value for passengers from those cities?

A: Aeromexico flies the Monterrey-Madrid and Guadalajara-Madrid routes three times a week, as part of our commitment to better connect Mexico. In the past, those who traveled from Monterrey or Guadalajara to Madrid took between 15 and 20 hours to get to their final destination, either through any US hub or through Mexico City. Now, they can reach their destination within nine hours.

We connect tapatíos (people from Guadalajara) and regios (those from Monterrey) even better. Once they get to Madrid, Aeromexico connects them with our SkyTeam partners across Spain and Europe. Great partnerships with Delta Airlines, Air France and KLM or Air Europa add great value to our customers. Tapatíos and regios can now reach many EU markets through only one connecting flight. Our commitment is to continue connecting the country through Mexico City and other regions.

Q: How has Aeromexico embraced the digital transformation within its operations to offer better passenger experience?

A: Aeromexico learned several lessons during the pandemic. Our phones got saturated with people calling, desperately trying to change flights, rebook or get vouchers for future travel. Over the years, we embraced the digital transformation but the pandemic accelerated the process. Aeromexico offers self-service tools through our website and mobile applications, allowing clients to make these changes without having to call us. Self-service makes this process more efficient and easier.

Additionally, a touchless experience has become a service that gives peace of mind to customers. Currently, our digital tools let passengers complete some travel processes from an electronic device without any contact, such as check-in, generation of boarding passes, and others.

Our digital ecosystem now includes everything from a website to a mobile app and a digital kiosk that allows clients to check in, get a bag tag and check the bag without waiting in line. Furthermore, we have Aerobot for WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger and we offer WhatsApp baggage tracking. Aeromexico offers free in-flight messaging with selected devices. We will continue investing and expanding our digital offer with our specialized team.

Q: How is the airline expanding its market through Aeromexico Vacations?

A: We continue to see strong growth in the leisure market because the region is in a unique situation and Aeromexico must take advantage of it. Mexico was ranked the No. 2 country for most visitors received during the pandemic. The recently launched Aeromexico Vacations allows passengers to buy their hotel, air transportation and activities in a single platform. Aeromexico has invested strongly in this software and partnered with Price Travel, seeing amazing success both in the B2C and B2B markets.

Q: What are Aeromexico’s plans for the near future?

A: Aeromexico has been very proactive in recent past years. In the middle of the pandemic, we wanted to be an example of safety. We showcased our safety measures by asking travel agencies, managers and partners from different corporations to experience flying with us.

Despite challenges, such as fuel prices, Aeromexico has come out of Chapter 11 with much more efficient processes. We will continue to focus on our clients, leveraging our strong position and Aeromexico will continue to evolve and adapt to the changing environments, always listening to clients and becoming better for them.

 

Aeroméxico is Mexico’s global airline. Based in Mexico City, the airline operates scheduled services to more than 80 destinations across Mexico, the Americas, the EU and Asia. Grupo Aeroméxico’s fleet is composed of 138 aircraft, including Embraer 190, Boeing 737 NG, B737 MAX, and Boeing 787 Dreamliner airplanes.

Antonio Gozain Antonio Gozain Journalist and Industry Analyst