- Passenger numbers:
- Domestic: 2.2 million, +9.2% year-on-year;
- Aeromexico: 250,900, +5.6%;
- Volaris: 97,100, +17%;
- Aeromexico Connect: 51,500, +94.3%;
- Interjet: 30,300, n/a;
- Vivaaerobus: 12,100, +147%;
- Foreign air carriers: 1.9 million, -2.8%;
Mexican domestic passenger numbers up 9.2% to 2.2 million in Apr-2012
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Interjet’s international passengers soar with new US transborder push against Mexican and US rivals
International passenger numbers for the Mexican low cost airline Interjet skyrocketed more than 50% in the first seven months of 2016, reflecting the launch of more than 10 new international routes during that period, and with US transborder routes representing the bulk of Interjet’s international expansion.
Interjet is no doubt positioning itself to seize on opportunities created by a new, finalised bilateral between the US and Mexico that lifts restrictions on the number of airlines operating on specific routes between the two countries. Interjet’s rival Volaris has also grown its US transborder passengers in 2016, but it has a different route profile from that of Interjet. Generally, Interjet is subject to higher levels of competition on some of its transborder routes than Volaris, given that Interjet and Volaris offer different products to their passengers.
During the past two to three years Interjet and Volaris have been essentially tied for the coveted position of Mexico’s second largest domestic airline. But for the seven months ending Jul-2017 Volaris logged 22% domestic passenger growth, while Interjet’s passenger numbers inched down slightly, resulting in Volaris assuming full command of the second place ranking.
ULCCs, hybrid airlines in the Americas. True LCCs start to look like a vanishing species
During the mid-2000s the term hybrid business model entered the North American aviation business vernacular as low cost airlines became more sophisticated, adding elements to their strategy outside the boundaries of the traditional low cost blueprint pioneered by Southwest Airlines. Fast forward to 2016, and the term hybrid is becoming outdated, as low cost airlines in North America have adopted many of the same product attributes as full service airlines, and as those airlines have blended in many low cost elements.
North American airlines can now be categorised into four business models – full service airlines; low cost, high value airlines; ultra-low cost airlines; and Southwest, which still aspires to the low cost paradigm but does not offer the product attributes of more upscale low cost airlines. jetBlue has pushed the boundaries of low cost product evolution with its successful Mint experiment, featuring a fully lie-flat business seat, but no other North American low cost airline has (yet) decided to follow suit. Canada's low cost model, WestJet, has hybridised, adding a regional fleet in Westjet Encore, expanding its competitive bandwidth against its main domestic opponent and going long haul on the Atlantic.
In the less mature Latin American aviation market, the low cost airline model is still evolutionary, with the exception of Mexico where three low cost airlines and one full service airline are competing to lure passengers from bus travel. Brazil and Colombia also have low cost airline representation, but the spread of the business model is generally slower in South America, partially due to challenges from the cumbersome regulations that the start-up companies face in bringing their visions to fruition.