Mexicana gets ready to launch new regional

 - March 2, 2009, 6:19 AM

A new regional airline subsidiary of Mexicana Airlines will start service from Guadalajara on March 15 with used Bombardier CRJ200s, the company announced last month. Called Mexicana Inter, the new airline will assume responsibility for many of the routes once flown by Alma de Mexico, the former low-fare CRJ operator that ended operations last November after slashing service during the summer and finally succumbing to the global economic crisis, fuel price increases and the devaluation of the Mexican peso. Plans call for Mexicana Inter to fly 13 leased CRJs on some 25 domestic routes.

“The company’s decision to bolster its operating infrastructure is part of the restructuring strategy we began implementing three years ago,” said Grupo Mexicana CEO Manuel Borja. “It comes at a time when productive investment is critical in an industry that requires smart business plans and companies willing to undertake challenges that imply growth. Mexicana believes in Mexico and decisions like these confirm the confidence our company has in the country’s future.”

According to Grupo Mexicana, the new airline will create more than 500 direct jobs and 1,000 related sources of employment. Initial destinations from Guadalajara include the Mexican cities of Puerto Vallarta, Torreón, Veracruz, Monterrey, Chihuahua and Ciudad Juárez.

In a statement Grupo Mexicana said the new airline will fly services deemed not cost-effective for Mexicana Airlines and Mexicana Click, which flies most of the group’s domestic services from Mexico City with 25 Fokker 100s. Plans call for Mexicana Click to begin replacing the Fokkers with Boeing 717s this year.

The defunct Alma had operated 18 CRJs under a code-share with Mexicana and placed an order for two new CRJ900s with Bombardier. The company had planned to deliver those airplanes late last year.