Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Airline news: more flights, growth plans

Volaris: new Guadalajara-New York service.


Two Mexican airlines have announced new services connecting Mexico City and Guadalajara to the United States, while a third has growth plans.

Interjet will begin offering two daily flights between Mexico City and Houston on May 14. Tickets went on sale yesterday with an introductory round-trip fare of US $349.

Travelers looking for a Guadalajara-New York connection will find a new one this summer when Volaris begins offering flights three days a week. The service begins July 15 with an introductory fare of $204.

Another Mexican airline, a low-cost carrier based on — and partly owned by — the firm that owns Ryanair, will be the model for new carriers elsewhere in Latin America, and could represent a new travel option for budget-conscious travelers.

A consortium announced last October will fill a gap in Latin America, where there are few low-cost options other than riding a bus, says Condé Nast Traveler.

And it’s a bus company that’s going to be part of the change.

Panama-based Grupo Viva is a consortium of Irelandia Aviation and Mexico’s Grupo IAMSA, which already owns VivaAerobus and VivaColombia, operating in Mexico and Colombia, respectively.
Irelandia bills itself as the world’s premier low-cost carrier and owns Ryanair in Europe, Tiger Airways in Asia and Allegiant in the U.S., while Grupo IAMSA is Mexico’s largest bus company.
Grupo Viva wants to cut fares across Latin America, with most of its one-way flights costing less than $100. Spartan service and lots of seats is one way of doing that.

The company operates Airbus A320s with up to 186 seats. By comparison, U.S. low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines uses a 178-seat configuration on its A320s.

“The more seats you can put in, the lower the cost per seat, and the lower the price we can charge,” said Joe Mohan, Grupo Viva’s president, during an interview last fall with Condé Nast.
So far, he said, passengers don’t seem to mind because it beats taking the bus.

Now with the model established in two countries, the company has plans to expand. VivaAerobus ordered 52 new A320s in 2013, and delivery will begin with eight planes this year.
Also this year, Mohan expects to enter another country.

“We should be able to establish a new Viva every 12 months.”

Sources: Travel Pulse (en), La Jornada (sp), Condé Nast Traveler (en)
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