Starting in December, LAA will serve both El Paso and Albuquerque from Mexico City and Albuquerque from Chihuahua.
Photo © Gabo Ramirez - Aviation Photography of Mexico
Sept. 20, 2001, 9:36PM
Azteca Airlines unveils expansion plans
By JENALIA MORENO
Copyright 2001 Houston Chronicle
MEXICO CITY -- While airlines in Mexico and the United States are laying off workers and even considering bankruptcy following the one-two punch of an economic slowdown and last week's terrorist attacks, startup Azteca Airlines is in an expansion mode.
On Thursday, the airline announced it plans to increase the routes it flies in Mexico, add U.S. routes and buy up to six new Boeing 737s in the next six months. Each of those airplanes costs $48 million.
Beginning in December, Azteca will fly to El Paso from Mexico City, and Albuquerque from both Mexico City and Chihuahua.
Those routes have no nonstop competition, said Marcos Shuster, general director of the regional air carrier. The Mexican airline will also begin flying from Mexico City to Guadalajara, Chihuahua and Cancun. The airline began offering service in June, and, although it is based in Mexico City, most of its flights have been out of the border city of Tijuana.
Currently it flies from Tijuana to Mexico City, Guadalajara, Zacatecas, Uruapan and Morelia using its fleet of four Boeing 737s. Despite the slowdown, sales are exceeding expectations this month, said Eduardo Laris, a vice president of marketing and strategic planning with the airline.
While airline executives expected an occupancy rate of 25 percent in September, 35 percent of the carrier's seats have been booked.
The airline has not been as severely affected by last week's events because for now it does not fly between the United States and Mexico and thus did not have to cancel its flights, Shuster said at a news conference in the company's hangar at the Benito Juarez International Airport.
Azteca was founded by Leonardo Sanchez just months after Mexican airline Taesa went bankrupt last November. The company purchased Taesa's hangars and ground equipment.