Mexicana's new owners have appointed an administrator to run the airline group as it tries to negotiate concession packages with the carrier's unions.

Tenedora K, a group of Mexican investors which acquired Mexicana's parent company at the end of last week, says in a 25 August statement that it has appointed Alejandro Rodriguez Mirelles as the company's administrator. Grupo Mexicana CEO Manuel Borja left the carrier at the end of last week.

Tenedora K also says in the statement it has reached an agreement with Mexicana pilots union ASPA covering the potential restructuring of the airline. It says it has also made progress in negotiations with the union representing Mexicana's ground staff including mechanics, SNTTTASS.

Rodriguez in the statement applauds the willingness of the carrier's pilots, ground personnel and non-unionised employees to forge new labour agreements and their recognition of the serious financial situation Mexicana currently faces.

However, Tenedora K says talks with the carrier's flight attendant union, ASSA, are not progressing. It claims the union has taken a different view compared with the other employee groups and has so far not been willing to negotiate concessions. ASSA was unavailable to comment.

Tenedora K says Rodriguez is coordinating the "possible rescue" of Mexicana's parent company, Nuevo Grupo Aeronautico (NGA). While only Mexicana mainline filed for bankruptcy protection early this month, Tenedora K has acquired the entire parent company including airline subsidiaries Click and Link.

Rodriguez has a financial background, formerly serving as director of investment banking for Mexican bank BBVA Bancomer. Tenedora K says this job involved restructuring bankrupt companies as well as dealing with mergers and acquisitions. Rodriguez also has served in management positions at various companies in the tourism, consumer goods and industrial sectors.

Tenedora K also says in the statement that NGA's financial situation and the impact of labour costs on the company's competitive position is "more serious" than it thought prior to acquiring the company on 20 August. But a Tendedora K spokesman declined to elaborate or say how much capital the new ownership group has so far put into Mexicana to keep it operating while a restructuring attempt is initiated.

Tenedora K says labour costs for all Mexicana employee groups need to be adjusted in order for the carrier to be competitive with other Mexican carriers and US carriers. It claims on average flight attendant costs at Mexicana are 32% higher than US majors and 100% higher than other Mexican carriers. It says lower labour costs are required for the carrier to be able to recover from the current situation and re-launch.

It adds the possible rescue of Mexicana by Tenedora K is dependent on the investment group being able to reach new agreements in the coming days with all the carrier's unions. While Tenedora K is attempting to restructure the entire company, including the Click and Link units, so far union negotiations have focused on mainline Mexicana as the labour costs at Click and Link are already relatively in line with labour costs at Mexico's low-cost carriers.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news