Alaska Airlines Eyes Mexican Expansion

With the slogan ‘unleash some ‘wow’ to your winter’, Alaska Airlines announced today that it would be adding three new services to leisure destinations in Mexico out of San Francisco later this year. Starting on December 18th, just in time for the Christmas holidays, Alaska flights will take off from SFO for Loreto, Mazatlán, and Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo.

Alaska Airlines is hoping to wow passengers this winter with three new services to Mexico out of SFO. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

In a drive to make the most of the ease to travel south of the border for US citizens – Mexico currently does not even require a negative COVID-test for entry – US carriers are adding more routes to the country’s leisure hotspots. Among them is Alaska Airlines, which is betting on new routes to provide its customers with more chances of some winter sun.

Seasonal through April 16th

The new services out of SFO to Loreto (LTO), Mazatlán (MZT), and Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo (ZIH) will be seasonal. They will all commence on December 18th and end on April 16th – all departing once per week on Saturdays. All routes will be operated by the airline’s Airbus A320s.

Flights to LTO will take off at 12:00 and arrive at 15:40. The return will depart at 16:50 and land at 18:45. For MZT take-off is scheduled for 11:50, arriving at 16:10. The return leg will leave at 17:15 and arrive at 20:01. Finally, the service to IXT will depart at 08:00, arriving at 14:15. The journey back will begin at 17:25, landing at SFO at 20:11.

Alaska Airlines Airbus A320-200 aircraft seen at Norman Y.
Flights on the three new routes will be operated by the airline’s Airbus A320s and depart on Saturdays. Photo: Getty Images

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Discounts for all Alaska’s Mexico flights

In celebration of the new routes, Alaska is currently offering a 30% discount on select one-way fares to all the destinations the carrier serves in Mexico.  With the addition of the three new services, Alaska will serve eight destinations in Mexico from the West Coast.

The airline says it is excited to add more services to help its passengers relax and disconnect. This winter, there will be up to 27 daily Alaska departures to Mexico from the West Coast – 20 from California and seven from the Pacific Northwest.

“With a total of seven nonstop destinations from the Bay Area this winter, including options from San Francisco and San Jose, tropical paradise is just a few hours away. Plus, we offer convenient nonstops from Los Angeles and San Diego to a range of destinations in Mexico and across Latin America, said Brett Catlin, Vice president of network and alliances at Alaska Airlines in a statement Thursday.

Alaska A320
Alaska will operate 27 daily services to Mexico from the West Coast this winter. Photo: Getty Images

Current state-of-border play

Loreto currently only has two US carriers operating services to the airport. One is American Airlines out of Dallas. The other is Alaska, which already operates a route out of LAX. Meanwhile, both Mazatlán and Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo were back to near pre-COVID levels during the past month, with the former even showing growth compared to the first seven months of 2019.

Following the downgrading of Mexico’s air safety rating to Category 2 by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in May this year, Mexican carriers cannot add capacity north of the border. As such, US carriers are increasing schedules and services, such as JetBlue’s recent inauguration of its LAX to Los Cabos route. US airlines have also increased their market share in Mexico and currently hold close to 70%.