Mexicana's new owners are apparently waiting to see if they can complete agreements with the carrier's unions before deciding whether to invest in the bankrupt carrier.

Investment group Tendora K purchased Mexicana parent company Nuevo Grupo Aeronautico (NGA) on 20 August and subsequently stated that new labour agreements are essential for the carrier to be rescued. Two of Mexican's unions tell Flightglobal that Tenedora K has not yet put any capital into the company, which means they have nothing to lose if they decide to walk away from the proposed rescue.

Tenedora K has declined to disclose how much it paid to acquire its 95% stake in NGA or how much it has so far has invested in the company. But former owner Grupo Posadas announced its 30% stake in NGA was sold to Tenedora K for a symbolic amount and Tenedora K is believed to have only paid a symbolic one peso for the entire 95% stake. The other 5% is still owned by Mexicana pilots union ASPA.

An ASPA spokesman says Tenedora K has not yet provided any capital and Mexicana is currently operating by relying mainly on credit which the government and government-owned companies have agreed to temporarily provide. He says this credit is allowing Mexicana and sister carriers Click and Link to receive fuel in Mexico and accrue navigation, airport services and other charges without pre-payment.

Private airport operators also were ordered by a Mexican court earlier this week to continue providing services to Mexicana although the company has not been paying its bills.

A spokesman for Mexicana flight attendants union ASSA also says "there's no investment from Tenedora K right now".

But unions acknowledge there is a risk that Tenedora K can walk away from the deal before investing any capital. Tenedora K has already stated that in closely examining the company's accounts since agreeing to buy NGA on 20 August, it has discovered the financial condition of the company is more severe than originally thought.

The ASSA spokesman says the union is also concerned Tenedora K has no interest in the airline industry and could be a short-term investor. But both the ASSA and ASPA spokesman say the unions are confident Tenedora K will be able to complete agreements with all the company's unions by early next week and once these deals are finalised the new owners will finally make an initial investment.

If Tenedora K decides to back out, it is expected the government would likely continue to provide the credit necessary to keep Mexicana operating while the unions lead the search for an alternative investor. The ASPA spokesman says other investors expressed interest in acquiring the company and spoke to the unions last week. But he says ASPA is currently only working with Tenedora K.

He says Click, Link and Mexicana are all currently operating roughly one third of their pre-bankruptcy schedules. As a result most employees are working reduced hours.

Employees also have not received any salary since Mexicana filed for bankruptcy early this month. The hope is employees and suppliers will later receive payment for services rendered during Mexicana's financial crisis.

The ASSA spokesman says the union has been told some flight attendants will receive next week a reduced salary for August of no more than 10,000 pesos ($770).

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news