AeroMexico Unhappy With Emirates Fifth Freedom Flight To Mexico City

Mexican national flag carrier AeroMéxico is asking the Mexican government to reverse a decision that allows Gulf carrier Emirates to have a fifth freedom flight from Barcelona to Mexico City.

AeroMéxico opposes Emirates’ fifth freedom flight from Dubai to Mexico City Photo: Wikimedia

While asking for the permissions to be changed, AeroMéxico went ahead and decided that it too wanted to fly from Mexico City to Barcelona. It launched a three times a week service between Mexico City International Airport MEX) and Barcelona-El Prat (BCN).

AeroMéxico to start a daily service between Mexico City and Barcelona

During an earnings conference call with analysts on July 17th, CH-Aviation reports that AeroMéxico CEO Andrés Conesa Labastida said,

“During the second quarter, we started direct flights from Mexico City to Barcelona, broadening our network proposition to Europe, where we now operate to five cities. We have made a decision to increase our operation to a daily service.

Dreamliner JFK
AeroMéxico to fly 787s between Mexico City and Barcelona. Photo: Wikimedia

“Firstly, because we have seen strong demand on the route, but also as a response to the Mexican government’s disappointing decision to grant fifth freedom flying rights to Emirates, to fly from Dubai Int’l to Barcelona to Mexico City, in spite of the state subsidies Emirates receives from the UAE government. To provide the additional aircraft we need for the increased frequencies to Barcelona, we have decided to cancel our services to Shanghai.”

Amid an uproar claimnig unfair advantage of Emirates and other Gulf airlines, AeroMéxico said last week they would cancel their three weekly flights to Shanghai. Meanwhile, their three flights a week to Barcelona will become a once-daily service starting in March of 2020.

Emirates confirmed in a July 16th press release that they will be starting a daily service on December 9th with a B777-200(LR) that will fly from Dubai to Mexico City with a stop in Barcelona.

The altitude of Mexico City makes it impossible to operate long-haul flights

When talking about the new route and explaining the issues with flying from the Middle East to Mexico City, Emirates president Tim Clark said:

Emirates Boeing 777
Emirates Airlines cannot fly non-stop from Dubai to Mexico City. Photo: Emirates

“Due to the high altitude of Mexico City airport ( 7,342 feet), it is not possible to operate a non-stop flight from Dubai, and Barcelona was a natural choice for a stopover.” He then added that the route between Barcelona and Mexican capital “has long been neglected by other airlines and remains underserved despite the strong customer demand.”

What is a fifth freedom flight?

Before we talk about a fifth freedom flight lets first explain what a second freedom flight is as it can get a little confusing.

A second freedom flight allows an aircraft to land in a different country other than the destination for refueling or maintenance. During a second freedom flight passengers and cargo are not allowed to leave the aircraft.

On a fifth freedom flight such as the one between Dubai-Barcelona-Mexico City passengers and cargo would be allowed to get off and on in Barcelona. While on a fifth freedom flight Emirates would be able to welcome aboard new passengers only wanting to fly the Barcelona-Mexico City leg of the journey, and vice versa.

What do you think? Should Emirates be allowed to go ahead with their fifth freedom plans, or are Aeromexico right to oppose the decision?