Mexico: More than half of the foreign airlines have not returned after the pandemic.

Of the more than 50 foreign airlines that had flights to Mexico before the arrival of covid-19, 23 had resumed operations until last August. While companies from markets such as the United States have returned almost entirely, companies from Central and South America, as well as European ones, have registered a slow return, reported Expansión.

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On the one hand, the airlines that had concentrated almost 90% of international passengers before the pandemic -of US, Canadian and domestic origin- have restarted operations in most cases. Only one US airline kept its flights closed until August (Compass Airlines) and one Mexican airline, Interjet, while from Canada the companies Sunwing and Swoop Airlines remained in the same situation.

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In this period, Central and South American companies had been the most affected, since between April and May no airline from this region transported passengers to Mexico, and only until August did Volaris Costa Rica restart its flights. This situation was the result of a generalized closure of international flights from key markets such as Colombia and Peru, which only in recent days reopened their international flights, a case similar to that of the European and Asian markets, which have maintained a marginal advance.

In this regard, Gerardo Herrera, an academic from the Universidad Iberoamericana, explains that at this time international passenger flows not only depend on the leisure segment -which at the moment is limited to their respective domestic markets either due to travel restrictions or flight time-, but also on the business segment, where commercial integration between Mexico, the United States and Canada has favored the return of airlines, with different dynamics.

“While Americans have alternative beach destinations, business tourism has driven this market. But Canadians do not have beach destinations. It is a great market, a medium-stay tourism, and that is why its absence will also impact”, he explains.

These factors particularly affect European airlines, which have returned to operate in key markets such as Spain (in the case of Iberia), France (Air France) and Germany (Lufthansa).

By Juan Tolentino Morales