Mexicana’s Delayed Launch Plan Comes Into Focus, and The News is Not Good


The new Mexicana — a brand purchased by the Mexican government to be run as a military airline — was hoping to be flying by this week (after previous delays) with its gleaming fleet of Boeing 737-800s. That did not happen. Increasingly it’s looking like it won’t, at least not as planned. There is nothing about this airline that makes sense.

Up until last week, the goal was to launch on December 1. The airline was feeling confident with route maps and schedules available on its website. It has now walked all that back. In a press conference, Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) said the airline will now launch right after Christmas, on December 26. That seems suspect.

The idea behind the December 26 launch for the Mexico City-adjacent airline — it will use AMLO-backed Felipe Ángeles International Airport outside Mexico City as its primary hub — is that residents in Mexico City tend to travel after Christmas and spend the New Year holiday elsewhere. This seems like perfect timing. But it’s also wishful thinking. What AMLO reportedly said included “I think Mexicana will be flying in December,” and “So, perhaps it will be on Dec. 26. We are working on it.”

The hold-up previously had been certification, but now it appears that the issue is aircraft availability… at least, that’s one of the issues. The plan to start flying with 737-800s seems to have been thrown out the window. Instead, the first airplane in Mexicana livery is… an Embraer ERJ-145? Uh, yeah. On the site formerly known as Twitter, @xime-garmendia showed a photo of a TAR Embraer in the paint shop getting Mexicana colors.

An ERJ would be a particularly bad idea for an airline that is going to be flying from the secondary Mexico City airport when there is already more efficient competition from the more preferred primary airport in the city. That is not a low seat-cost airplane.

To make things worse, take a stroll over to the Mexicana website which is still only in Spanish. The route map is still there, but there is no booking engine nor schedules. What we do know now, however, is that this airline will have drinks and carry-on bags included. And at least to start, checked bags and seat assignments will be free as well. So let’s get this straight. The airline will have high costs on a small airplane with necessarily low fares and limited ancillary revenue opportunities. Where could it go wrong?

We still don’t know where the airline will actually be flying at start, but it most certainly won’t be to the vast network shown on the route map. The only thing we do know is this rather odd message on the airline’s homepage.

For those who can’t read Spanish and don’t feel like typing this into Google Translate — thanks, Mexicana, for putting this in an image instead of text to make translation harder — what it says is that starting on November 25, anyone who booked flights to Acapulco, Guadalajara, Huatulco, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Mazatlán, Monterrey, Oaxaca, Puerto Vallarta, and Villahermosa will receive an email with instructions on how to confirm reservations and pay for them.

For those going to Campeche, Cancún, Chetumal, Ciudad Juárez, Cozumel, Hermosillo, La Paz, León, Los Cabos, Mérida, and Tijuana, well, they’re out of luck. Mexicana will send compensation, but it’s unclear what that may be. It’s also unclear why there will be compensation if people never actually paid for their flights. (I’m just assuming they haven’t since Mexicana says that the first group will receive instructions on how to pay.)

This continues to be an absolute mess.

All of this garbage just breezes by the primary issue with starting on December 26… which is that there is currently no way to book flights on the Mexicana website, and the airline wants to start flying in four weeks. I would imagine that most people who are planning on traveling during the holidays aren’t going to wait around to see if Mexicana might fly when they need it. I certainly wouldn’t expect all of those cities to be launched by then anyway, so even if there was a way to book, there would probably be a lot of unhappy customers during the holidays.

The Mexicana saga just gets weirder and weirder and shows yet another reason why having the military run an airline is generally not a great plan. This is not what they’re supposed to be doing.

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21 comments on “Mexicana’s Delayed Launch Plan Comes Into Focus, and The News is Not Good

  1. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Mexicana project is quietly abandoned. With Aeromexico and Volaris having started service to Felipe Ángeles already, and Viva Aerobus scheduled to add several new destinations list in the next few months, it (along with other political pressure) may have served its purpose in getting carriers to serve AIFA.

    1. I agree. In fact reread the presidents statement & notice two words that were inserted… “I think.” That’s all you need to know that this is a clusterfuck of an idea.

  2. It would be cheaper for the Mexican government to stand around at Felipe Ángeles International Airport and light money on fire to use as marshaling wands.

    Something tells me that Mexicana is going to end up in the 2024 edition of “Airlines we Lost”

  3. CF,
    Is it true that the Mexican government hired Alitalia’s old executive management to help startup the airline? ?

    1. Angry Bob – I’m wondering if they hired anyone to run the thing or just figured it would magically work on its own.

    2. Even Alitalia couldn’t cook up something like this. This is in a Fail tier inside the Fail tier inside the Fail tier.

  4. I guess it won’t fly. Anyway, your caption on the picture should be “nueva” since in Spanish “mexicana” is a feminine adjective, so the modifying one should also be feminine. I hope I made myself clear…

    1. Actually he should have used “nuevx”,. as the whole masculine/feminine thing is now completely discredited (or so we’ve been told).

      1. Not really, I live in Mexico and speak Spanish. Nobody uses the x at the end of a word, some want to use an e, like amigues instead of amigos y amigas.
        When “mexicana” is used, “nueva” must be used.

  5. Let’s not underestimate the lack of trust the airline is creating in potential customers who think they are getting transportation, potentially at a good fare during the holidays, only to find that those flights are not available and they have to pay more on other airlines.
    At some point, the Mexican people will realize that there are too many other needs that the government should be addressing than to pour money into an airline that the private sector is addressing ala Argentina. Mexico isn’t as bad off as Argentina but anyone can see that this is a waste of money that is being subsidized by taxpayers.

  6. Brett: my wife and I are trying to find a reasonably time and price for flights for a family of three to travel from FAT (Fresno) to either PHL or EWR May 23-27th, 2024.

    I am strongly urging her to use a travel agent/concierge for a trip like that. It’ll cost a bit extra, yes. But if anything goes wrong, you know all the back numbers. We will either be on another flight or in a hotel room.

    I’m willing to pay some extra for that protection.

    Please contact us. Info left in the ‘contact’ info.

    1. If you’re looking for assistance from Cranky Concierge, you can see options at for domestic travel. There are also ways to reach out to the team there if you’re interested.

      1. Can you help us out? I mean this isn’t 1997 anymore.

        You are supposedly the best here in 2023.

        I’ll pay for an agent and concierge service.

        To make sure that if anything goes wrong, my wife, myself, and my daughter aren’t sleeping on the airport floor.

        Another email contact sent through your portal.

        1. I’m not sure what else you need. As mentioned, you can sign up for service at where you’ll see domestic options. If you’ve sent an email to, someone will get back to you.
          If not, you can email there. I don’t handle everything myself.

  7. It’s pretty shocking this doesn’t seem to be working considering the vast number of passenger airlines successfully run by a country’s military.

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