Mexicana transfers more domestic routes to Click

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Mexicana is transferring more domestic routes to its low-cost unit Click Mexicana in response to intensifying competition and soaring fuel prices.

A Mexicana spokeswoman says from 1 September all Grupo Mexicana domestic flights to Acapulco and Zacatecas will be operated by Click.

According to Innovata, Mexicana now serves Acapulco from Mexico City with 30 weekly flights using Airbus A320 family aircraft. Click, which operates an all Fokker 100 fleet, currently does not serve Acapulco.

Acapulco, a popular tourist destination on Mexico's Pacific coast, is already served by low-cost rivals InterJet and Volaris from Mexico City's alternative airport, Toluca. Click will initially serve Acapulco with four daily flights from Mexico City International.

Mexicana now operates 23 weekly flights to Zacatecas in northern Mexico, with 14 flights from Mexico City, seven from Tijuana and two from Leon. No low-cost carrier currently serves Zacatecas.

Click will initially operate three daily flights to Zacatecas from Mexico City International.

The upcoming changes for Grupo Mexicana at Acapulco and Zacatecas follows similar changes earlier this year at five other domestic stations: Minatitlan, Puerto Vallarta, Oaxaca, Tampico and Veracruz. Mexicana transferred all flights at Veracruz to Click at the beginning of March, at Oaxaca and Tampico at the beginning of May and at Minatitlan and Puerto Vallarta at the beginning of July.

The Mexicana spokeswoman says the carrier has been slashing domestic capacity this year as part of its new business plan that focuses more on international services.

"Grupo Mexicana has decided to reorient its business plans with a view to offering its customers more and better products and services that exceed their expectations," says senior vice president customer services Adolfo Crespo. "The group's new strategy consists of focusing Mexicana Airlines' operating capacity on the international market to consolidate the carrier's leading position on the Mexico-US segment and its presence and expansion throughout the rest of the continent. We are also considering the possibility of offering flights to Europe.

"In light of this new business approach, the operations of Click Mexicana have been strengthened on the domestic market, where it currently serves a total of 26 destinations," Crespo adds.

Volaris chief executive Enrique Beltranena told ATI last week that the reduction in capacity at Mexicana will make Volaris Mexico's largest domestic carrier by the end of this year. Volaris estimates that Grupo Mexicana has reduced domestic capacity by about 11%, which includes a large cut at the mainline unit and a small increase in its low-cost unit.

Volaris is already larger than Click in terms of passengers carried although it currently operates to five fewer destinations. Volaris operates 18 144-seat Airbus A319s while, according to Flight's ACAS database, Click operates 23 100-seat Fokker 100s.

Click launched services in 2005 and Volaris in 2006. Both carriers currently only operate domestic services.