Volaris sees little threat from Interjet or Southwest

Phoenix
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Mexican low-cost carrier Volaris sees very little threat from the expansion of Interjet and Southwest Airlines into the trans-border market, as it continues to expand its network to the USA.

The carrier focuses on the visiting friends and relatives market while Southwest is focused more on US leisure passengers, says Enrique Beltranena, chief executive of Volaris, at the Phoenix International Aviation Symposium on 4 April.

“Our traffics are, essentially, very different than Southwest’s traffic,” he says.

Using Volaris’ new Denver-Chihuahua flight as an example, Beltranena says the airline is looking to shift the travel patterns of Mexican migrant workers to its 2h 5min flight from 32h bus rides, rather than attract US leisure or business passengers to the route.

Volaris and Southwest’s subsidiary AirTran Airways do not compete on any routes between the USA and Mexico, according to Innovata FlightMaps Analytics.

Mexican competitor Interjet is also not seen as a threat. The carrier uses a different model, one that is widely seen as akin to that of US-based JetBlue Airways, than Volaris, says Beltranena.

Interjet is expanding its network to the USA, requesting authority for new flights on the Guadalajara-San Antonio and Mexico City-Laredo routes in December 2013. It plans to operate some of the new service to the USA using 93-seat Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft.

Volaris will continue to focus its US expansion on the visiting friends and relatives market, says Beltranena. While he declines to comment on where exactly, he agrees with previous management comments that service to Texas is a gap in the airline’s system.

The carrier only flies to San Antonio in Texas.