Mexico’s Volaris defers all 2009 aircraft deliveries

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Mexican low-cost carrier Volaris has deferred the delivery of at least three Airbus A319s, and will now not take any additional aircraft this year.

A Volaris spokeswoman confirms the carrier has decided not to take delivery of any aircraft in 2009. "The next one should be for 2010 but we do not have any date confirmed yet," she says.

Volaris, which operates 19 A319s and two A320s, initially was only slated to take one additional A319 in 2009. But last year Volaris accelerated deliveries of two A319s from 2010 to 2009, giving it three delivery slots for 2009.

Volaris' 20th A319 was scheduled to be delivered in June and two more A319s were scheduled to follow in the fourth quarter. None of these aircraft will now be delivered this year and Volaris will end 2009 with the same number of aircraft it started the year with - 21.

Volaris has added an average of seven aircraft per year since launching in 2006, following a business plan which envisioned a similar rate of growth for the next several years

Last November Volaris CEO Enrique Beltranena told ATI that the carrier was still planning to take in 2009 all three A319s from its outstanding order with Airbus but earlier plans to also lease four additional A319s in 2009 had been dropped due to the deteriorating economic conditions.

As market conditions continued to deteriorate in Mexico over the last few months, Volaris decided to also reconsider its three delivery slots direct from Airbus and has come to an agreement with the manufacturer to defer these. It declines to say exactly how long these aircraft will be deferred.

According to the Flight ACAS database, Volaris currently has 18 additional A319s on order and holds options for another 26 A319s.

Overcapacity in the Mexican domestic market has also prompted rival low-cost carrier Interjet to defer both of its two A320 deliveries for 2009. Mexican regional carrier Aeromar also has deferred the delivery of at least one ATR 72 slated for 2009.

Aeromexico and Mexicana continue to take delivery of new Boeing 737-700/800s and A320 family aircraft this year, respectively. But while both legacy carriers are adding capacity in the domestic market this year through the acquisition of regional jets, the additional 737s and A320s are not resulting in more capacity as they are being used to replace Boeing MD-80s at Aeromexico and older model A320s at Mexicana.

Volaris currently only operates domestically but is preparing to launch service on its first two US routes at the beginning of June. The carrier is expected to make an announcement soon confirming which transborder routes it will initially operate. Volaris has already applied to the US DOT for permission to serve Fort Lauderdale in Florida from its base in Toluca outside Mexico City.