Six weeks from its first scheduled flight on Dec. 2, Mexico’s new government-owned airline has hit some turbulence in its return to the wild blue yonder: its online ticketing system has been taken offline.
Mexicana de Aviación — which went bankrupt in 2010 after its 2005 privatization, but was resurrected this year and is now run by the Defense Ministry (Sedena) — suspended the reservations section of its newly launched internet portal because it does not yet have an Air Services Operator Certificate (AOC).
The certificate, issued by the Federal Aviation Agency (AFAC), establishes a series of requirements for an airline, such as a business plan, types of aircraft, routes, fares and ticketing locations, among others.
Starting in late September, users were able to reserve tickets online, but that offer lasted only 16 days because offering flights without an AOC violates Civil Aviation Law.
Sedena is in the process of trying to secure an AOC and has reportedly sought the support of Boeing to help expedite the process. Once completed, Mexicana will begin offering ticket reservations again.
Analysts have been dubious about operations beginning in early December, in large part because Mexicana was still looking to hire pilots and flight attendants as of last week.
Despite these issues, Morena presidential candidate Claudia Sheinbaum said earlier this week that President López Obrador would launch the new airline with a flight from Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA) in Mexico City to the new Tulum airport on Dec. 1.
The former Mexico City mayor also said Mexicana plans to present its initial fleet of eight airplanes by the end of October. The flight map on the airline’s website shows that Mexicana’s hub will be AIFA in Mexico City, with flights to and from 20 cities in Mexico.
The Mexican government bought the defunct Mexicana brand in January and finalized the purchase in August. Mexicana’s last scheduled flight was on Aug. 28, 2010, when flight 866 departed Mexico City at 4:15 p.m. bound for Pearson International Airport in Toronto.