Volaris seeks Los Angeles and Oakland rights

Washington DC
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Mexican low-cost carrier Volaris, which earlier this month was cleared to launch services to Fort Lauderdale in Florida, is seeking authority to also serve Los Angeles and Oakland in California.

In a 20 March application with the US DOT, Volaris sought authority to serve Los Angeles from its Toluca base and Oakland from both Toluca and Guadalajara with Airbus A320 family aircraft. The carrier tells the DOT it will begin the three routes "shortly after approval is received".

Volaris in early February submitted its first application to the US DOT, requesting authority to serve Fort Lauderdale from Toluca "in the first half of 2009". The DOT approved this application on 12 March.

While it initially only applied for Fort Lauderdale, Volaris in February told ATI it was planning to launch two transborder routes on 1 June and begin ticket sales at the end of March.

Volaris, which currently only operates domestically with a fleet of A319s and A320s, has not yet indicated what will be its first international route. But an announcement providing launch dates and details is expected within the next week or two.

No carrier currently serves Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles or Oakland from Toluca but several carriers link Mexico City with Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco. Toluca is an alternative airport for Mexico City used mainly by low-cost carriers while Fort Lauderdale is near Miami and Oakland is near San Francisco.

Volaris will compete against Mexicana on the Guadalajara-Oakland route, according to Innovata.

Meanwhile, Volaris is working through technical and legal issues with Southwest Airlines as the carriers plan to begin codesharing next year.

While terms of the partnership have not been finalized, the codeshare will cover Volaris-operated transborder flights and Southwest-operated domestic routes. A Southwest spokesman says he expects Southwest will have the technology in place to begin selling codeshares in the first quarter of 2010, and that a link to sell Volaris flights will appear soon appear on the Southwest website.