Mexico's domestic market recorded slight growth in 2010 despite the collapse of the country's second largest player.

According to new data from Mexico's DGAC, 24.495 million passengers travelled domestically in Mexico last year, up 0.3% compared with the 24.431 million passengers which travelled in 2009.

For the fourth consecutive month, December saw a slight reduction in traffic. DGAC figures from December 2010 show 2.103 million domestic scheduled passengers compared with 2.111 passengers in December 2009.

But given Mexicana's suspension of operation in late August the reduction has been very small as almost all of Mexicana's traffic has been quickly absorbed by other carriers. Grupo Mexicana in 2009 accounted for 6.6 million scheduled domestic passengers or 27% of the total market.

The country's only other legacy carrier, Grupo Aeromexico, has benefitted significantly from Grupo Mexicana's collapse. In a 25 January press release, Grupo Aeromexico announced its traffic grew 12% in 2010 to 11.6 million passengers. This included an 8% increase at Aeromexico mainline to 6.5 million passengers and a 17% increase at regional unit Aeromexico Connect to just under 5 million passengers.

Domestically, according to DGAC data, the group transported 8.9 million passengers last year compared with 7.9 million passengers in 2009.

Mexico's three low-cost carriers have also seen their traffic grow significantly in the aftermath of Mexicana's suspension. Interjet recorded 4 million domestic scheduled passengers in 2010, compared with only 3.1 million in 2009. Volaris saw its annual domestic traffic grow from 3.1 million to 3.6 million passengers while VivaAerobus' traffic surged from 1.4 million to 2.2 million passengers.

Regional carrier Aeromar recorded a slight increase in annual traffic from 517,000 passengers in 2009 to 570,000 passengers in 2010. Magnicharters also saw its scheduled domestic traffic grow last year from 585,000 passengers to 719,000 passengers.

In the international market Mexican carriers saw their collective traffic drop from 6.8 million passengers in 2009 to 6.2 million passengers in 2010. But foreign carriers saw their traffic to and from Mexico jump from 15.7 million to 18 million passengers.

US carriers, which were in better position than Mexican carriers to take advantage of Mexicana's collapse, in particular recorded rapid growth. The DGAC data shows US carriers flew 13.4 million passengers to and from Mexico last year, compared with 12.2 million in 2009.

Mexicana's was Mexico's largest international carrier in terms of passengers carried, accounting for 4.4 million international passengers in 2009 but only 3 million in 2010 due to its August suspension. Grupo Aeromexico was able to grow its scheduled international traffic from 2.1 million passengers in 2009 to 2.5 million in 2010.

Volaris' international traffic grew from only 199,000 passengers in 2009 to 578,000 passengers as its US expansion continued. VivaAerobus, which predominately operates domestically, saw its scheduled international traffic grow from 29,000 to 51,000 passengers. Interjet does not operate any scheduled international services.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news