Aeromexico could take on Volaris in three transborder markets

Washington DC
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Aeromexico is seeking authority to launch five US routes as the SkyTeam carrier continues to expand in former Mexicana markets.

In a 2 March filing with the US Department of Transportation (DOT), Aeromexico requested authority to launch service from Guadalajara to the California cities of Fresno, Sacramento and San Francisco. Aeromexico is also seeking authority to link Morelia with San Francisco and Monterrey with Chicago.

The carrier says it aims to begin serving all five routes on 1 April with Boeing 737-700s "or other appropriate aircraft". It does not say how many frequencies will be offered in each market.

Most of these routes were previously served by Mexicana until the Oneworld carrier suspended operations last August. Mexicana has since repeatedly delayed plans to re-launch.

Aiming to fill the void left by Mexicana, Alaska Airlines in December launched thrice weekly services between Sacramento and Guadalajara. According to Innovata the other four routes currently do not have any non-stop service but three have been targeted by Mexican low-cost carrier Volaris, which has also been keen to fill some of the void left by Mexicana.

Volaris has already confirmed plans to launch service on the Guadalajara-Fresno route from April and last month also secured authority to launch Guadalajara-Sacramento and Guadalajara-San Francisco. Volaris has not set launch dates for these two services but has said they are at the top of its list of over 20 potential new transborder routes.

Mexican carriers in the past have frequently opted not to utilise newly secured transborder route authorities and have been known to submit requests simply to bluff competitors. Therefore, it not certain if Aeromexico and Volaris will end up going head to head in the Guadalajara to Fresno, Sacramento and San Francisco markets.

Aeromexico has already added frequencies on seven US routes that were previously also operated by Mexicana, which was the largest Mexican carrier in the transborder market. The additional frequencies, which were implemented in December and January, boosted Aeromexico's US operation to 434 flights per week.