Expect more U.S.-Mexico flights to be announced soon: the federal Undersecretary of Transportation said yesterday that five airlines have requested permission for between three and six new routes each.
Yuriria Mascott of the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation said permissions have been granted in four of those cases — which were requests made by American Airlines, Delta, Southwest and Hawaiian — and a fifth is pending.
Among the destinations favored by the airlines are Monterrey, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, Cancún and Mérida. Not one application was made for new flights to Mexico City, Mascott said.
The expansion of routes comes as a result of the signing of a new air accord between Mexico and the U.S., which took effect in August and replaced one that dated back to 1960.
While the paperwork might have been concluded in the granting of the new routes, that wasn’t the case late last week for Southwest Airlines, which suspended new flights between Los Angeles and three resort destinations.
Southwest said it cancelled flights to Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta and Cancún since Wednesday because the necessary paperwork had not been completed. But it said that Mexican authorities issued the permits on Friday and flights resumed on Sunday as anticipated. Forty flights were affected by the four-day suspension of service.
The new flights had only just begun operating on December 4. Two days later regulators discovered that something was amiss, and Southwest blamed “paperwork” in a statement.
“Because required paperwork still has not been issued by authorities in Mexico, we are now faced with unplanned challenges and forced to make proactive flight cancellations,” the airline said.
The travel website Skift suggested Southwest, after decades of serving only domestic routes, “is now learning, the hard way, how challenging” international service can be and perhaps jumped the gun on launching its new flights without receiving final approval.