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News Article

Mexican Airlines on Path to Recovery

By Alicia Arizpe | Thu, 11/12/2020 - 14:24

Mexican airlines continue rebuilding the capacity they had lost since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. October data from Aeroméxico and Volaris points to more demand and air traffic in trend with the previous months.

After the paralysis the aviation industry suffered earlier in the year as domestic and international air traffic dried up across the globe, the sector seems to be picking up thanks to growing demand for air travel. However, demand has not picked up equally across all regions and domestic travel seems to be faring better than international flights, explains the International Air Transport Association (IATA). In its latest report on air passengers, the association pointed that international demand measured in revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) remains 88.8 percent below 2019. On the other hand, domestic demand is down only by 43.3 percent across all member nations. While this could be a positive sign for the recovery of aviation it is necessary to point out that domestic travel represents 36.2 percent of total demand.

While IATA points out that demand in Latin America remains low at only 76.2 percent of 2019’s, Mexican airlines report somewhat better figures. In its October traffic report, Mexico’s flagship airline Aeroméxico highlighted a 64.3 percent year-on-year contraction. However, the airline is quick to point out that this represents a 22.9 percent increase in demand over September 2020. The increase seemed to be driven by both domestic and international travel. During October, the airline transported a total of 116,000 international passengers and 753,000 domestic ones.

Mexico’s ultra-low-cost airline Volaris also reported an increase in demand in October in comparison to the previous month. The airline, which reports its figures in miles, reported that its demand for October was 13.3 percent higher than in September 2020. However, it is still at only 80.8 percent of what it was the previous year. In October, Volaris transported 1.4 million passengers, 14 percent more than during the previous month. Of these, 1.2 million were domestic passengers and the remaining international ones, highlighting the growing demand for domestic aviation.

The local aviation industry still has some way to go before a complete recovery but airlines seem positive about their chances. For instance, in its report, Volaris highlighted its “strong recovery in ASMs and healthy load factors” and pointed out that it would operate at 94 percent of its total capacity during November 2020. That same month, Aeroméxico indicated it planned to increase the number of flights to international destinations such as Guatemala City, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, San Jose, Santo Domingo and Medellin.

Alicia Arizpe Alicia Arizpe Senior Writer