From a very reliable source (sorry can't divulge) I have been informed that Fernando Chico Pardo ("controlling" shareholder of ASUR with a total 15% holding is in discussions with the aeronautical authorities (DGAC) to obtain a concession as a low cost carrier in Mexico. DGAC initial reaction has been favorable.
ASUR's nine airports are located in the South East of Mexico with CUN being their bread and butter. ASUR is traded on the NYSE and recently the last 11% governmental ownership was successfully placed in the Mexican bourse. ASUR would pony up the seed capital, secure the necessary permits and Chico Pardo would then take care of the private equity round with some other investors. They are currently screening possible operating partners. A number of weeks ago GOL Brasil was approached to gauge their interest. Current status unknown.
I believe it would be the first (worldwide) for an airport or airport group to start an airline, let alone a low cost airline. Mexican regulations allow for a maximum 5% participation by an airport in an airline. Considering this, it seems sort of complicated to obtain the necessary permits and also structuring the start-up financing so that this rule is not breached. Does anybody have any insights on this?
This could be the start of a possible interesting trend in the aviation industry: airports (as already aircraft lessors) starting and/or becoming shareholders of an airline in order to protect their strategic interests. A positive development?