Mexico Has Purchased An Airline, Will Turn It Over To The Military To Run

Mexicana was one of the oldest airlines in the world when it went out of business in August 2010. The carrier had been flying to the U.S. since 1920, when it began operating Mexico City to Tuxpan to Tampico to Brownsville, Texas with a Ford Trimotor.

The carrier, partially-owned by the Mexican government, went into bankruptcy, and a great deal was revealed about how key executives used the business for tax fraud and money laundering.

Today Mexico is served by airlines like Aeroméxico, Volaris and Interjet. However the country’s President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has decided he wants a,

  • new national airline
  • to be run by the government itself

And the government of Mexico has now acquired the assets of Mexicana, which has been defunct for 13 years for $42.6 million, including:

  • $21 million for the airline’s brand
  • $11 million for its training center
  • $6 million for “a couple of buildings and offices that the company owns.”

The airline will be run by retired members of the military. And by re-starting Mexicana, rather launching a new airline, they’re bringing back union leaders who haven’t had membership to lead in over a dozen years. Mexicana’s old unions will get a payout. And the airline is in talks with Boeing to acquire aircraft.

New Mexicana Can’t Even Fly To The U.S.

The FAA downgraded Mexico’s air safety oversight from category 1 to category 2. No Mexican airline can add a new flight or route. So Mexicana cannot fly to the U.S. at all.

Mexico’s President says there’s nothing wrong with his country’s aviation safety and that the move is just protectionism, to let U.S. airlines expand into Mexico while preventing Mexican airlines from doing the reverse. However, plenty of incidents at least provide anecdotal support for a problem.

Culiacán International Airport is under attack by the Sinaloa cartel after the arrest of El Chapo’s son Ovidio.

The Mexican Army is trying to bring in equipment through the airport

The cartel is mobilizing. Clashes breaking out across Culiacán

— The HbK (@The5HbK) January 5, 2023

Will I Get My Frecuenta Miles Back?

I’d love to have the Mexicana Frecuenta miles lost from bankruptcy back. When it was a Star Alliance airline, Mexicana was a light touch for status match requests, and Frecuenta Gold brought me my first regular access to United’s Red Carpet Clubs. Best of all, they processed upgrades out of discounted business class inventory seven days in advance of travel. You had to proactively request the space, two decades ago, but that meant anyone paying attention on a non-sold out flight could secure premium cabin space.

The airline moved from Star Alliance to oneworld when United, dealing with its own financial turmoil, wasn’t coordinating with it and generating passengers. oneworld suffered the demise not just of Mexicana, but also Malev of Hungary and Kingfisher of India.

Another well-funded player, looking to expand aggressively, could be good for customers. It could also offer the sort of poor product you often see from effectively government-run entities like Cubana de Aviación and Aerolíneas Argentinas, along with poor frequent flyer program, because they don’t need to be competitive – political patrons, rather than passengers, become their customers.

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