Allowing foreign airlines to offer domestic flights in Mexico will spell the end of Mexican airlines

Puerto Vallarta (PVDN) – If ‘cabotage’ is authorized in Mexico, that is, allowing foreign airlines to operate flights between two destinations in Mexico, it would cause the price of plane tickets to increase and the closure of Mexican airlines, warned the National Chamber of Aerotransports (Canaero ).

The private association, which brings together 45 members including airlines, cargo companies, and air taxis, warned of the possible consequences of reforming the Aviation and Airport Laws to allow cabotage, which is currently under discussion in Mexico’s congress.

They indicated that almost 80% of the passengers who moved within Mexico were in seven airports: AICM, Cancun, Guadalajara, Los Cabos, Monterrey, Puerto Vallarta, and Tijuana.

“If foreign companies are allowed to operate domestic flights, they would need to serve the most profitable routes, perhaps lowering their prices initially, and then, once the national airlines were pillaged, they would have control of the routes and set high prices to recover the losses they suffered”, warned Canaero in a press release.

In addition, they indicated that when these foreign airlines experience adversities in their countries of origin, they will abandon international routes to protect the national ones, completely disconnecting the destinations they sabotaged.

The President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, sent an initiative to reform the Civil Aviation Law last December, with which he plans to allow the cabotage of foreign consortiums to transport passengers, cargo, and mail under the following conditions:

  • That these operations address “causes of public utility, public interest or national security.”
  • That the route is of strategic interest for the development of the country’s airport infrastructure.
  • That the request of the foreign company has the favorable opinion of the National Security Council
  • That the airport where it is requested to operate has a creditable technical and operational capacity

However, Canaero argued that the initiative lacks legal support, analysis of international practices, studies, statistics, expert participation and, in short, “does not contain serious and well-founded elements that demonstrate a public benefit for Mexicans.”

They also recalled that in most countries cabotage is prohibited and is only allowed in nations whose location or other conditions prevent good air connectivity, and Mexico is not in that situation.

They affirmed that in the countries where cabotage was allowed without studies or strategy, a connectivity crisis was generated, which caused a loss of airlines and jobs.

López Obrador justified this initiative with the intention that there is more flight offer that benefits users. However, the airlines believe that the national air sector can be more competitive if the fees and taxes paid by travelers are reduced. They point out that, in some cases, the Airport Use Fee (TUA) can be 65% of the price of the plane ticket.

La Canaero insisted that the government should focus on the country recovering category 1 in aviation safety, which it lost in 2021.

Aeroméxico supported the position of Canaero that details the reasons why cabotage in Mexico should be rejected.

“The bill that is being analyzed in the Chamber of Deputies must exclude the term of cabotage, and would have to focus on the changes necessary for the Mexican aeronautical authority to recover Category 1 aviation security,” said the largest airline in the country in a brief statement.

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