There is more bad news for problem-plagued airline Interjet: one of its new investors has decided to withdraw his capital.
A source with knowledge of Interjet’s finances told the newspaper El Financiero that businessman Carlos Cabal Peniche decided to take back his funding from the airline.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the source said it was unclear how much of a US $150-million capital injection announced in July would be maintained.
Cabal and Alejandro del Valle had committed to provide that amount of money to the airline, which has significant unpaid tax obligations and appears to be on the verge of bankruptcy.
Under the arrangement, the two men were to acquire 90% of the airline’s shares, leaving the original owners, the Alemán family, with a stake of just 10%.
It is unclear what impact Cabal’s withdrawal will have on the ownership structure of Interjet, which hasn’t paid its employees for two months and canceled flights earlier this month because it didn’t have the funds to pay for jet fuel.
As a result of the cancellations, the federal consumer protection agency Profeco issued a statement last week warning people of the risks of buying flights with Interjet.
Miguel Alemán Magnani, the president and CEO of Interjet, took umbrage at that stance at a business summit on Monday.
“I believe that it was a mistake. … It’s pathetic that someone from the government [Profeco chief Ricardo Sheffield] tells [consumers] not to buy something from a Mexican company,” he said.
He said that Interjet would file a complaint against Profeco for the damage it caused the airline but didn’t specify with whom.
Alemán expressed confidence that that the airline will be in a better position by the end of the year and start next year strongly. He also said that Interjet’s customers are loyal and won’t abandon the airline.
The budget carrier will also need loyalty from its employees if it is to turn things around. But given that it hasn’t paid them since September there is no guarantee that they will be able to count on it.
Interjet workers protested outside the airline’s Mexico City airport airport offices last week and ground staff in Cancún demonstrated Sunday, forcing the cancellation of 10 flights to and from the Caribbean coast resort city.
About 80 workers protested at a traffic circle in the Cancún hotel zone to demand the payment of four fortnightly pay packets, the newspaper Reforma reported.
“It’s frustrating, we’ve been without our salaries for two months. We also had grocery vouchers and we haven’t received them for four months,” said one employee who participated in the protest.
At a meeting with workers and union representatives at offices of the federal Interior Ministry last Tuesday, Interjet made a commitment to transfer one fortnightly salary payment to employees by the end of last week. But the airline failed to keep its word.