certainly would have been a big deal if Mexicana Airlines had
succeeded in buying its largest rival, Aeromexico. But since the
bid was rejected by antitrust regulators (Banamex, a Citigroup
subsidiary, had the winning offer), Mexicana has been focusing on
Even without a
major merger, Mexicana has gone through important changes in recent
years. Since Mexicana was privatized after the government sold the
airline to Grupo Posadas in 2005, Mexicana has strengthened its
ties with partner airlines and increased the presence of its
low-cost subsidiary, Click Mexicana, which launched in
corporate structure and practices are taking place this year, and
Mexicana has even opened its own museum, in Mexico City's San Juan
de Aragon district that is open to the public. The facility has a
replica of a Lincoln Standard, the first aircraft used by the
company in the 1920s, plus a Boeing 727 flight
In addition, the
airline moved its Chicago staff to a new facility in
Adolfo Crespo y
Vivo, Mexicana's senior vice president of customer service and
corporate communications, answered questions about how the airline
has evolved and where it's headed.
Weekly:Mexicana's merger with Aeromexico was turned
down. How does that change the airline's strategy moving
Crespo: Mexicana's objective and Plan A has
always been to operate the best airline in the region. The
possibility of acquiring Aeromexico came up as an alternative, or
Plan B. We are now focused on Plan A.
TW:How will the sale of Aeromexico to
Banamex affect airline competition in Mexico?
Crespo: Mexico's air transportation market
has undergone unprecedented changes. In less than 18 months, we
went from six airlines to 14, creating pressure on yields. Domestic
markets have experienced a 35% increase in capacity, and the
overall stimulation, or growth, in the market is less than 20%.
Mexicana believes that Mexico's market is too small for two trunk
carriers and expects consolidations in the near future.
TW:It's been a couple of years since
Mexicana was bought by Grupo Posadas. How would you describe the
differences at the airline today?
Crespo: The restructuring
initiatives recently implemented have resulted in greater cash
flows, guaranteeing solid growth. There's a long-term objective to
strengthen the airline and set forth a positive impact. This
process, and the input of our outstanding employee participation,
demonstrates the [goal] to position Mexicana as one of the top
airlines in the world.
TW:To what extent has Mexicana
benefited from synergies with the other Posadas brands, such as
Crespo: Our operation continues to
work independently. Mexicana Airlines works with Posadas as well as
with other companies in the hotel industry.
TW:At what stage is Mexicana's
management reorganization, and how different will the airline be
when it's complete?
Crespo: The 18-month period of
stable, ordered transition following the acquisition of the
company, which was agreed would be spearheaded by Emilio Romano,
has come to an end.
This change was
intended to meet the challenge of a highly competitive market and
create greater value for our clients and stockholders.
TW:We've been hearing about new
products. Is the new Mexicana Vacations packages feature, available
through World Wide Travel Exchange (Expedia's private-label booking
engine), something that will be of use to travel agents or just
consumers? How is Mexicana marketing its packages to travel
Crespo: Mexicana Vacation packages
through WWTE are only for consumers. However, Vacation Travel Plus
packages are offered through travel agents and booked through
Mexicana's call center.
TW:How long has the "Pay One Price and
Fly Five Times" promotion been around? Has it helped to grow
traffic between Miami, New York and Mexico City?
Crespo: The Pay One Price and Fly
Five Times promotion was launched five months ago, and it has
helped the growth of the corporate market from Miami and New York.
It's a promotion exclusively for passengers through the Mexicana
TW:Since Click Mexicana just passed
its second anniversary, how would you describe the carrier's
growth? What percentage of Mexicana's business is through Click,
and do you know what percentage of the domestic Mexican market
Crespo: As of today, Click
Mexicana's participation in the domestic market is at 7.1%, and it
serves 26 routes, which is a significant increase of approximately
62.5%, compared with routes served when it launched in 2005.
Presently, [the fleet] is comprised of 17 Fokker 100 aircraft with
the Coach Plus configuration, which offers great
TW:What has been the effect of the
growing number of low-fare carriers on Click and Mexicana
Crespo: Mexicana Airlines' main
focus is offering a product with foremost quality, with exceptional
service. Click Mexicana's objective is to offer competitive
advantages that are distinguished from other low-cost
Click is the only
low-cost carrier sustained by the experience and tradition of a
company like Mexicana de Aviacion. Click customers accrue miles
with Mexicana's Frecuenta loyalty program, which offers greater
advantages in accumulating miles.
TW:What additional growth is planned
for Click Mexicana? Will there be more international expansion
across the border?
Crespo: Click Mexicana continues
exploring diverse route alternatives that would satisfy our
clients' needs. However, at this point we're unable to confirm any
TW:Mexicana's most recent codeshare
agreement was with Avianca (Colombia's national carrier), correct?
What other plans does Mexicana have to expand its presence in Latin
Crespo: This is correct; recently
Mexicana Airlines confirmed its alliance with Avianca. At this
time, Mexicana is exploring diverse options that could offer our
clients outstanding benefits and also expand Mexicana's alliance
TW:The new Mexicana Airlines museum
sounds interesting. How did you decide that the time was right to
open a museum?
Crespo: After 86 years of
uninterrupted service, the items on exhibit reflect many years of
hard work and effort on behalf of Mexicana employees, whose desire
was to have an area to display the extensive collection of
artifacts and memorabilia that portrays Mexicana's
TW:What is the name of the museum, and
where is it located? Is there a phone number, Web site and street
address where visitors can find the museum when visiting Mexico
Crespo: It's the Mexicana de
Aviacion Museum. The museum is open to the general public, and
guided tours are available on Thursdays from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. by
calling 5786-6511. The address is Avenida 602 No. 161A, Colonia San
Juan de Aragon, C.P. 07920, Mexico City.
contact reporter Mark Chesnut, send e-mail [email protected].