Harsh Measures to Brave the CrisisBy Pedro Alcalá | Fri, 03/20/2020 - 15:17
Amid the increasing travel bans and warnings that plague the global industry, Mexican airlines still find ways to cut operational costs in order to survive the crisis. These efforts include layoffs, hourly reductions, fleet downsizing and the cutting of flights to international destinations. The latter is increasingly easy due to international flight restrictions enforced by the US, Canada, the EU, China, Japan and certain Latin American countries.
Aeromexico has been the most affected among Mexican airlines given its extensive portfolio of international routes; over half of its income comes from these flights. The effect is even greater due to the Boeing 737 MAX groundings. Meanwhile, Interjet is also feeling the pressure with 47 percent of its portfolio being international destinations. Other low-cost airlines such as Volaris and Viva Aerobus, however, have not been affected so much by these restrictions, since approximately 90 percent of their income is generated by national routes.
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Airline Worker Unions React to Crisis
The Syndical Association of Mexican Aviation Pilots (ASPA) is preparing to face the effects of the COVID-19 shutdown. Preparations will include shift rotations organized remotely since social distancing dictates that union meetings must be adjourned for the time being.
Meanwhile, the Syndical Association of Flight Attendants (ASSA) is also calling its members to organize two-month rotations which would ground 1,360 flight attendants every two months with no salary or benefits.
Debunked: Mexican Air Force Will Not Spray Disinfectant
An anonymous message circulated among Mexican Whatsapp users claims that as part of its DN-III plan in response to COVID-19, the Mexican Air Force will be using its helicopters to irrigate public spaces with disinfectant. SEDENA has now confirmed this message to be false in a statement to AP.
In fact, the DN-III plan is yet to be formally implemented. President López Obrador said that he was merely analyzing the possibility of activating this protocol in the near future.
Airshows and Events Canceled
The year’s largest aerospace expo, the Farnborough Airshow, has been canceled due to the COVID-19 crisis. This event was scheduled to raise tens of billions of dollars in business deals and is now the latest of many major industry events to be impacted by this global pandemic
The world’s largest military airshow, Britain’s Royal International Air Tattoo, originally scheduled to take place this July, has also been canceled. Aviation expert Howard Wheeldon predicts this industry slowdown will last from six to 12 months.
Half of FAMEX 2021 Booked
As much as 50 percent of the exhibition space for FAMEX 2021 has already been booked, according to a recent statement by aviation captain Edgar Ramírez Soriano, who is also a communications coordinator and publicity manager for the renowned industry fair.