Interjet’s troubles continue growing. The Mexican low-cost carrier hasn’t flown this week due to a lack of cash to pay for fuel. Additionally, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) suspended the airline from a second system after its dismissal from IATA’s Clearing House back in April.
Not flying again?
Between November 1 and 2, Interjet stopped flying for the first time. It cited financial troubles, fleet maintenance, and the impact COVID-19 has had on the airline industry. It affected over 3,000 passengers.
Then, Interjet flew without issue for three weeks before stopping again. The airline halted all its flights between November 28 and December 2. Unlike the first time, Interjet didn’t notify its passengers and workers on this second stop, leaving them in the lurch. It affected over 4,000 passengers.
Now, for the third time in less than two months, Interjet stopped flying. It hasn’t operated any flight since December 11 and won’t do it until, at least, December 17. This adds up to two weeks without flights in the last two months.
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily aviation news digest.
In the meantime, every other Mexican airline continues recovering from the COVID-19 crisis. Volaris and Viva Aerobus have seized the market left by Interjet, and Grupo Aeromexico prepares for the return of the MAX.
Additionally, the Customer Protection Agency in Mexico (Profeco) has issued several warnings against Interjet. Profeco is telling customers to think twice before buying a plane ticket with Interjet, given the uncertainties around the airline’s future.
To make it all worse for Interjet, IATA decided to suspend the airline from its Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP). This is the second IATA suspension of Interjet after the airline’s exit from IATA’s Clearing House in April. So far, Interjet is still a member of IATA.
IATA’s BSP “is a system designed to facilitate and simplify the selling, reporting, and remitting procedures of IATA Accredited Passenger Sales Agents.”
The suspension forbids associated travel agencies to sell Interjet tickets.
Interjet hasn’t published a statement regarding any of its latest issues. The airline’s silence is only broken once every two days when Interjet publishes on Twitter; these tweets are filled with unhappy customers’ responses. On December 9, the airline posted an image with a single phrase: we’re still here.
Interjet troubles with customers and employees
Even though the airline claims to still be here, for Interjet employees, the crisis has reached new limits.
Last week, Interjet’s Union published a statement asking the Mexican government to nationalize the airline. The government declined this offer on Monday, during a meeting with Interjet employees.
The airline owes three months of wages to its employees, which has led to many abandoning the seemingly sinking ship. This week 16 former Interjet pilots entered Viva Aerobus. Moreover, the Union is now backing up workers that decide not to work anymore with the airline. There are reports of pilots and maintenance workers declining to work for the airline.
For customers, the crisis is still the same. There are no flights, no refunds, no useful vouchers, and no certainty about when and if the airline will operate again.
The airline is bankrupt
The Mexican tax authority director, Raquel Buenrostro, recently gave an interview for the local newspaper La Razón. In it, Buenrostro said that Interjet is already bankrupt. She said,
“Interjet has no cash flux; it doesn’t have resources to pay for fuel. The company is bankrupt since last year. It is not a pandemic related topic; it is bankrupt due to bad administrations going back to several years. Interjet owes taxes since 2013, so it is a company that has ailed for seven years in a row.”
Finally, regarding the US$150 million capital investment announced in July, there is no positive news. The money still hasn’t entered the airline and probably never will.
Did you ever travel with Interjet? How was it? Let us know in the comments.