Mexicana leases two 767-200s to support new London service

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Mexicana has agreed to lease two Boeing 767-200s to support the launch of its first intercontinental service.

The carrier has unveiled plans to serve London Gatwick from its Mexico City base starting 17 January using 767-200s.

A Mexicana spokeswoman says the carrier has entered into lease deals for two 156-seat 767-200s. She says the first aircraft will be delivered in time to launch two weekly flights on the Mexico City-Gatwick route on 17 January and the second will be delivered before 17 February, when Mexicana plans to double capacity on the route to four weekly frequencies.

Mexicana over the last several months has been looking at acquiring Airbus A330s and other widebody aircraft types to support its long-haul expansion plans. The 767 is not considered the ideal aircraft for transatlantic operations from Mexico City because the high altitude of the airport can result in payload restrictions on long-haul flights. Mexicana, presumably for this reason, has opted to only configure its 767-200s with 156 seats, including 40 in business class and 116 in economy.

The carrier now operates two 767-300ERs, which it uses to operate daily flights to Buenos Aires. The rest of its fleet consists entirely of narrowbody aircraft.

Mexicana, which is preparing to join the Oneworld alliance next year, currently only operates flights within the Americas but has been looking over the last year at launching transatlantic flights.

Aeromexico has traditionally been the only Mexican carrier operating flights to Europe. The two flag carriers historically also have had little to no overlap on international routes, although in recent years they have begun to compete more on some US routes.

While Aeromexico now operates to Madrid, Rome and Paris in Europe it currently does not serve London. According to Innovata, British Airways is the only carrier on the London-Mexico City market, operating three weekly flights with Boeing 747-400s.

The spokeswoman says Mexicana continues to evaluate other potential European routes and other aircraft types but for now only has firmed plans for London and 767-200s.

"The new route forms part of our expansion strategy and is intended to meet demand for better travel alternatives to and from London," Mexicana chief commercial officer Isaac Volin says in a statement.