Debt loads thwart Aviacsa's relaunch

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Mexico's Aviacsa, which had committed to relaunching commercial operations this week after remaining grounded for nearly two years, was forced to delay its plans after historic debts with Mexico City's International airport (AICM) prevented it from start flying as planned.

Aviacsa CEO Andres Fabre confirms to ATI that "administrative hick-ups have forced Aviacsa to delay its relaunch slightly", without confirming the amount that has been quantified by the Mexican media as being close to US$ 1.9 million.

"We are paying all affected passengers tickets on other airlines", Fabre says, insisting that Aviacsa has the cash and capacity to overcome "unexpected start-up problems".

"Once this is solved, we will push ahead with full power", Fabre says. In the meantime, Aviacsa has "suspended temporarily" all ticket sales.

The Mexican aviation authority SCT had grounded Aviacsa in summer 2009 over safety and financial stability issues, sending Mexico's once third largest airline effectively into a lengthy bankruptcy process. After being acquired by Grupo Madero in late 2010, Aviacsa reached agreements with creditors that allowed it to emerge from bankruptcy earlier this year, which left, however the credit lines with AICM in a state of legal ambiguity.

According to the original launch plan, on 2 May Aviacsa should have started operating two daily flights from its Mexico City International home base to Monterrey, Tuxtla Gutierrez and Villahermosa, and three daily flights to Cancun in a mix of business, leisure and ethnic routes.

In late May the airline still plans to add Oaxaca and Tapachula to its network, also with two daily frequencies. Previously, Fabre has told ATI that Aviacsa in June plans to add Merida and a direct route between Monterrey and Cancun.

More than 20 years old, Aviacsa had originally been created in Mexico's southernmost state of Chiapas. Aviacsa's new route map takes the airline back into familiar markets where its brand recognition continues to be strong.