Travel Weekly's Mexico E-Letter June 11, 2003

MEXICAN PRESIDENT Vicente Fox unveiled a proposal to expand Mexico City's airport, increasing capacity to 30 million passengers a year from the current 20 million. The proposal, which is expected to open for bids by developers soon, would increase capacity by 50% by adding a second story to the existing terminal. The plan would also have passengers use other airports to shift flights away from Mexico's capital. Passengers would be routed through nearby airports in Toluca, Queretaro and Puebla, as well as more distant airports in Guadalajara, Monterrey and Cancun. The idea is to have passengers travel from one airport to another around Mexico City, much as travelers to London might arrive at Heathrow and leave from Gatwick. Violent protests by farmers and leftist supporters forced the government last year to abandon plans for a much larger airport 14 miles east of Mexico City that would have been able to handle as many as 90 million passengers a year.

HILTON HOTELS will manage the 426-room Hilton Cancun Beach & Golf Resort in Mexico following the acquisition of the resort by RLJ Development for approximately $31.5 million. The resort was formerly a Hilton-franchised hotel. "Hilton is continuously looking to expand our presence in Mexico," said Dieter Huckestein, president of hotel operations -- owned and managed, for Hilton Hotels. The Hilton Cancun includes Beach Club villas that offer concierge service; a private lounge for guest registration and departure; complimentary continental breakfast and beverages and hors d'oeuvres in the afternoon; and daily newspaper delivery. The resort also features an 18-hole golf course; a business center and 28,000 square feet of meetings space; and a fitness center.

FRONTIER AIRLINES said it plans to expand the number of Mexico destinations served for the upcoming winter season. Frontier filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation for authorization to serve Puerto Vallarta from its Denver Airport hub and is seeking approval to fly between Cabo San Lucas and Denver. "Since commencing service to Cancun and Mazatlan in 2002, customers have responded positively and now are asking for more options," said Sean Menke, Frontier's vice president of marketing and planning. If granted authority, Frontier plans to begin the service this fall.

NORTHWEST AIRLINES WORLDVACATIONS extended its summer sale to Cancun through June 15, offering air-inclusive packages from Minneapolis/St. Paul or Detroit to Cancun starting at $320 per person, double. Packages must be booked by June 15 for travel through Oct. 15. Hotels in Cancun and the Riviera Maya are offering summer rates that are up to 40% off high-season prices.

AEROMEXICO, Mexico's largest airline, beefed up its first class meal service with a new Soles y Especias (Sun and Spices) menu created by chef Thierry Blouet, owner and executive chef of Cafe Des Artistes in Puerto Vallarta. The menu includes breakfasts, meals and snacks that are low in seasonings and served with light Mexican sauces. AeroMexico said it will be able to change its menu every 15 days and rotate the selections every month-and-a-half. Menu choices include beef, salmon, sea bass, shrimp, chicken, duck, cheeses and fresh vegetables.

AMERICAN AIRLINES VACATIONS is offering 10,000 AAdvantage bonus miles for every booking of five nights or longer at select hotels in Cancun, the Riviera Maya, Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta. Vacations must be booked by July 31 for travel between July 1 and Dec. 15.

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