Yesterday, the International Air Transport Association Clearing House (ICH) suspended the Mexican airline Interjet with immediate effect due to a lack of payment. Additionally, the fleet of the airline continues to shrink, and Mexican authorities point out that Interjet doesn’t give certainty to its passengers. What is going on? Let’s investigate further.
What’s IATA’s Clearing House?
According to IATA, ICH is a service that provides fast, secure, and cost-effective billing. It also provides settlement services in multiple currencies for the air transport industry.
It also serves as an indirect way to sell plane tickets. For instance, when a travel agency outside of Mexico used to sell Interjet tickets, the agency sent the money belonging to the Mexican carrier trough ICH. Once it arrived, ICH sent it then to Interjet, after taking a fee. René Armas Maes, an aviation consultant, said to Mexican website A21 that 80% of the plane ticket business goes through ICH. So it is a big deal.
And what happened yesterday?
ICH suspended Interjet immediate effect “for the reason of the non-payment of a clearance balance.” IATA then added that Interjet is still a member of the Association and that the airline can come back in ICH, after paying what it owes.
What happens if Interjet is not a member of ICH?
The most important aspect is that Interjet cannot longer have interlineal agreements with other airlines. This is a big deal as Interjet has signed over the last few years some significant agreements. For example, it has one with Emirates and one with JetBlue.
Also, as stated before, travel agencies abroad won’t be able to buy Interjet tickets so easily. They can still do it, but not through ICH. Travel agencies within Mexico aren’t as affected. They can still do business with Interjet, but the question now becomes if they should.
Yesterday, the Mexican government published a statement saying that Interjet can’t provide evidence that it is capable of committing to its obligations. The government also asked Interjet to stop any wrongdoing to its clients.
The Mexican government stated that the vouchers provided by Interjet to clients that canceled their flights due to the coronavirus pandemic might not be worthy. It said,
“Interjet claimed that this ‘voucher’ expires in a year, and is useful to acquire a new reservation on any route and at any price. Nevertheless, without any evidence to support this statement, this can be an act of simulation.”
Interjet is losing airplanes every day
Exactly one month ago, we reported that 28 Airbus airplanes lease to Interjet had flown to the United States. This was just the beginning.
Over the last month, Interjet’s Airbus fleet has gotten smaller. In January 2020, the Mexican carrier had 66 Airbus airplanes. Now, it has nine. Its Airbus fleet is comprised of eight A320 and one A321neo.
A few weeks ago, Interjet said that its renegotiating conditions. It is also returning aircraft with contracts “outside of the current market conditions.” But the airline promised the Mexican government that these airplanes would return to Mexico when the conditions are better.
“Nevertheless, the airline has no evidence whatsoever to sustain this claim,” said the Mexican government. Additionally, the leasing company GECAS has already assigned two new registrations to a couple of A320neo that used to belong to Interjet. It is fair to understand that, at least these two airplanes, are not returning to Interjet.
Finally, in the last few days, Interjet has operated two airplanes of its Sukhoi SSJ100 fleet again. Interjet has a fleet of 21 available SSJ100 and one cannibalized. Of these airplanes, 12 flew the last time in 2018, five in 2019, and four in 2020.
What can we expect in the future for Interjet? Let us know in the comments.