Mexicana Link ready to open base in Monterrey

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Mexicana's new regional unit Link plans to launch several new routes over the next few weeks as it expands its fleet from four to six Bombardier CRJ200s.

A Mexicana spokesman says next week Link will launch service from Monterrey to Puebla and from Monterrey to Veracruz with continuing service to Cancun.

The spokesman says these routes represent Link's first routes from the northern Mexican city of Monterrey, which will become Link's second base after Guadalajara. All of Link's six existing routes originate in Guadalajara, where the airline and all four of its CRJ200s are based, but Grupo Mexicana had earlier indicated Link would eventually establish a second base at Monterrey.

Monterrey-Puebla will be served four times per day with CRJ200s while Monterrey-Veracruz-Cancun will be served twice per day with CRJ200s.

According to Innovata, Mexicana Link will compete against rival Aeromexico Connect, which operates Embraer ERJ-145s from Monterrey to both Puebla and Veracruz. Low-cost carrier VivaAerobus also operates between Monterrey and Veracruz. No carrier currently operates non-stop between Veracruz and Cancun.

The Mexicana spokesman says Link will also begin connecting next week Merida and Cancun, two cities located in the Yucatan peninsula in southeast Mexico. The Mexicana spokesman says this new connection will be operated once daily by extending Link's current Guadalajara-Veracruz-Hermosa-Merida route to Cancun.

According to Innovata, Link will be the first passenger carrier to operate non-stops between Merida and Cancun.

Link, which launched services in March, currently operates from its Guadalajara hub to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Torreon, Monterrey and Puebla. The spokesman says from early June Link will also extend its daily Guadalajara-Mazatlan route to Los Cabos in Baja California.

According to Innovata, no carrier currently operates between Mazatlan and Los Cabos.

The spokesman says the network expansion at Link is made possible by the delivery of additional second-hand CRJ200s. Link currently operates four of the type and will place into service two more over the next few weeks.

Grupo Mexicana has agreed to lease 13 CRJ200s with the 13th now slated for delivery in October, according to the spokesman. It also has options to lease two more CRJ200s which the carrier is currently evaluating.

Meanwhile, Grupo Mexicana low-cost unit Click has placed into service its first two Boeing 717s. The Mexicana spokesman says the 717s are now being used to serve Tuxtla Gutierrez and Villahermosa from Mexico City.

Click's fleet of Fokker 100s are still being used on some Tuxtla Gutierrez and Villahermosa frequencies and to serve the rest of the Click network. But they will gradually be replaced by 717s over the next two years as more second-hand 717s are delivered. The spokesman says Click has already phased out two Fokker 100s, giving it a fleet of 23.

The spokesman says the delivery pace of the 717s is deliberately slow as Click can only train a small batch of pilots at a time. "They are trickling in because it's difficult to have less capacity while training pilots," the spokesman explains.