Travel Weekly's Mexico E-letter: April 7, 2004

FRONTIER AIRLINES wants to expand its Mexico service outside its Denver hub. The airline said it has asked the DOT for permission to serve Cancun from Kansas City, Lambert-St. Louis and Salt Lake City starting July 3. Initially, nonstop service would be offered on Saturdays, complementing Frontier's existing service from its Denver hub. "Mexico has been a very popular destination from our Denver hub," said Sean Menke, senior vice president of marketing, who added that demand for Mexico from Frontier's other gateways is growing. Pending approval, the airline plans to offer introductory fares to Cancun from the three cities starting at $358 roundtrip. Frontier also plans to offer members of its frequent flyer program double miles between the three U.S. cities and Cancun.

IN OTHER AIRLINE NEWS, Continental on April 4 launched daily nonstop service from George Bush Airport in Houston to Monclova. With the addition of Monclova, a business and industrial center in northern Mexico, Continental now serves 24 cities in Mexico, offering more than 365 weekly departures to the destination. The Monclova route is being operated aboard 37-passenger jets featuring a fully equipped galley. Flights depart Houston at 8:40 p.m. and arrive in Monclova at 10:16 p.m. The return flight departs Monclova at 8:10 a.m. and arrives in Houston at 9:40 a.m.

OK, ONE MORE AIRLINE ITEM. Effective April 1, Mexicana, American and Iberia began offering frequent flyer reciprocity, the result of recently announced code-sharing agreements. Mexicana left the Star Alliance on March 31. Mexicana's agreement with American includes more than 500 roundtrip flights each week between the U.S. and Mexico. It allows American's passengers to fly to 21 new cities in Mexico, including Merida and Oaxaca. The code-share pact with Iberia expands the Spanish carrier's reach in Mexico and allows its customers to fly to 30 destinations. The deal also gives Iberia access to 10 new destinations in the U.S. and Canada. Mexicana, meanwhile, gained access to 34 destinations in Spain, 31 in other European countries and six in Africa and the Middle East.

HOST MARRIOTT AND MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL sold the Mexico City Airport Marriott to a local company for an undisclosed sum, Marriott said. The 600-room hotel is being managed by Camino Real, which took control of the property Jan. 30 and renamed it the Camino Real Aeropuerto. The nine-story hotel is connected via a covered walkway to Benito Juarez Airport.

PLEASANT HOLIDAYS added the upscale Maroma Resort & Spa to its Riviera Maya offerings. The property is bookable immediately. A five-night, land-only package starts at $1,250 per person, double, while seven-night, air-inclusive packages start at $2,175 per person, double, from Los Angeles, with departures on Saturdays. Packages include daily breakfast, airport transfers, hotel taxes and surcharges, and one snorkeling trip per guest. To book, call (800) 448-3333 or visit www.PleasantAgent.com.

THE "DUAL" RESORT of Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo opened its first U.S. tourist office in Houston. The idea is to attract more guests from the U.S. and Canada. Lupina McMains heads the office.

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