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Mexican airlines compete for slots at Mexico City airport

Mexico City, Mexico — As a result of the departure of several competitors and the Interjet fiasco, Mexican airlines have launched themselves in the search for slots at the Mexico City International Airport (AICM) for the current winter season.

The biggest beneficiaries of this move have been Aeroméxico and Viva Aerobus. The first one has assigned 14,264 more schedules compared to 2019, which means an increase of 18 percent.

Meanwhile, the low-cost carrier Viva Aerobus has 125 percent more slots, rising from 8,237 to 18,571 in the last two years. According to an Expansion analysis made with AICM data, these were followed by Volaris, which with an addition of 6,817 slots, increased its presence at the AICM by 40 percent.

This positions it as the second largest airline at the airport after the departure of Interjet, which in 2019 had 40,593 slots assigned.

In total, Aeroméxico, Viva Aerobus and Volaris together added 31,415 slots between winter 2019 and 2021, which is equivalent to almost 80 percent of the schedules that Interjet lost. In August Volaris placed one million seats at the AICM for the first time in its history.

Other increases include Colombian airline Viva Air, which entered the Mexican market this year, and which has 1,008 slots assigned, a level similar to one of its main competitors Avianca, which has 1,176 slots.

In addition, Air Canada will have 68 percent more schedules compared to 2019, as part of a strategy in which it plans to double its weekly frequencies by November, with a strategy focused on the AICM.

All these airlines have taken advantage of the slots left by other airlines that stopped operating in the AICM as a result of the financial blow caused by the pandemic. Among them, Interjet, Alitalia and the American JetBlue. There are also the Chinese Hainan Airlines and China Southern Airlines, which ceased operations in Mexico before the pandemic.