Mexico is getting a new airline and if the carrier meets all expectations it will go a long way in helping Mexican air traffic double over just the next three years. Volaris Airlines, started by Mexican billionaires Carlos Slim and Emilio Azcarraga, is expecting to take its first flight on March 13, 2006. Volaris may impact the airline industry well beyond Mexico especially if its aggressive expansion plans work out.
With the Mexican government in the process of voting its interest in two airlines, Aero Mexico and Mexicana Airlines, start up carriers are poised to jump in and provide service as fares drop and demand surges. Up to now, the highly controlled Mexican airline industry has put a damper on customer demand as artificially high prices and a restricted market have kept consumers away. Volaris Airlines, along with competitive start up airline, Interjet, are expected to quickly reshape the Mexican airline industry beginning this year.
Volaris is planning to serve at least six Mexican cities and historically provide service between Mexican and US destinations. No word how all of this will affect wannabe start up Mexus Airlines, currently operating as a "paper carrier" with no concrete plans [or funding] to start flying.
Volaris plans on flying 16 A319 aircraft and has an option on 40 A320 aircraft. TACA International Airlines, based in El Salvador, will hold a minority stake in the airline. If all goes well with Volaris, expect the Mexican airline industry to go through a shake up similar to what the US airline industry has experienced.
Source: Houston Chronicle, January 13, 2006