Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Aeromexico may buy rather than lease 10 737s

AeroMexico, the only major Mexican airline left flying, is weighing whether to buy 10 planes from Boeing instead of leasing them as it expects consumer demand for air travel to increase in the near term, the company's CEO said on Tuesday.

Chief executive Andres Conesa said that AeroMexico, benefiting from the demise of rival Mexicana, would consider buying new carriers over a period of three years starting in 2012.

AeroMexico had delayed receipt of 10 Boeing 737s as the domestic airline industry struggled with the effects of recession and the aftermath of the 2009 flu outbreak that scared tourists away from beaches and colonial towns across the country.

Boeing's 737s are among the newest additions to its short-to-medium range commercial fleet.

Conesa has forecast that AeroMexico could transport at least 13 million passengers next year, compared with close to 12 million expected for 2010.

AeroMexico became the only large Mexican airline in the skies after competitor Mexicana ceased operations in August under heavy debt and labour conflicts. Its affiliated carriers, Link and Click, also stopped flying.

While Mexicana could be revived by a relatively unknown boutique investment firm, no cash has been committed by the potential suitor.

Mexicana controlled many routes into the United States. But restrictions imposed on Mexico by US aviation authorities due to safety lapses mean domestic airlines are not able to take over those routes for now.

Conesa said AeroMexico, a member of the SkyTeam alliance, was evaluating new flights to Canada, Caracas, Panama, Madrid and Barcelona as the outlook for the industry improved.


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