United States airlines are seeing a decline in the growth of passenger numbers for Mexican destinations, for which they blame travel warnings.
Numbers rose only 1.7% during the first six months, compared to double-digit growth in the same period last year. Three airlines — American, Frontier and United — actually recorded lower passenger numbers than last year.
The main reason is insecurity, said an airline spokesman who spoke on condition of anonymity. “The security warnings by the Department of State have had a negative influence.” Those warnings are in effect in at least 16 Mexican states.
United Airlines executive Andrew Nocella said flights to Mexico are suffering “a severe weakening in demand due to increased supply and travel warnings.”
On this side of the border, Aeroméxico general manager Andrés Conesa said the main reason for slower passenger growth was the presence of more airlines in the market following a 2014 bilateral treaty that brought deregulation.
The weakening demand is being seen chiefly in beach destinations, yet there are no travel warnings in effect for any of the popular ones.
Instead, there is more confusion than there are warnings.
A July 25 report by travel site Travel Market Report said there has been a disparity between what some news websites have reported (and what some social media posts have said) and the alerts by the State Department.
Those stories, which also appeared on several Mexican media sites as well, said security advisories had been updated for some tourist destinations. But in fact, the advisories have not been changed since January 10, a State Department official told Travel Market Report.
The site observed that the confusion is what U.S. authorities had hoped to avoid when it launched its new travel advisory ranking system earlier this year.
The Mexican government reported a sharp decline in U.S. visitors in April. Numbers arriving by air dropped 6.8% from the previous year to 845,000.