Eleven commercial airlines both national and international gradually restarted operations in June, landing at the Lic. Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport and reconnecting the Puerto Vallarta-Riviera Nayarit region with top cities in Mexico and the United States.
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This is how, after a four-month hiatus, the airlines are contributing to the economic and tourist reactivation of the destination during the so-called “new normal,” while adopting at all times the protocols and preventive measures indicated by the corresponding health authorities.
According to information issued by Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico (GAP), domestic airlines that began operations towards the end of the first semester of 2020 include Aeroméxico, Interjet, Volaris, Aeromar, Viva Aerobus, TAR, and Magnicharters; international carriers include American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines. Low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines will also begin to fly in October.
As a result, connectivity has been reestablished with the following cities in Mexico: Mexico City, Tijuana, León, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Aguascalientes, and San José del Cabo. US cities include Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Dallas, and Houston. A gradual increase in both routes and frequencies is expected.
It’s important to reiterate that the airport and the airlines are both following protocols and health measures endorsed by the state, national, and international authorities to avoid possible COVID-19 contagion. These actions—established by GAP for the airport, and by the National Chamber of Air Transport (Canaero) for airlines—are key to inspiring confidence in travelers and incentivizing the safe use of air transportation.
In March 2020, right before the COVID-19 health emergency hit, the number of domestic and foreign passengers arriving at the Puerto Vallarta International Airport had reached 369,600. During the worst months of the pandemic, April and May, there were barely 10,600 and 12,500 passengers, respectively. However, the outlook improved with the gradual reopening of hotels in June, with the number of arrivals more than doubling to 35,900, with July closing at 99,100.
Marc Murphy, managing director of the Riviera Nayarit Convention and Visitors Bureau, sees the increase in flight activity as a positive signal for the destination and a sign of confidence on behalf of airlines that have served the region for years. And though it might currently be a challenge to reach the number of flights and frequencies that were registered before the pandemic, recovery is definitely underway, with a positive outlook for the end of the year.