The Mexican ceased carrier Interjet has appointed a new general director and CEO. His name is Federico Bertrand Rubio, and previously he worked as the CEO of Toluca International Airport, a commercial white elephant hub near Mexico City. The announcement came as a surprise to everyone because Interjet hasn’t operated a commercial flight in almost a year and is effectively bankrupt, in debt with many parties in Mexico and abroad.
New CEO… for what?
Interjet was a Mexican commercial carrier operating between 2005 and 2020. The airline ceased operations on December 11, 2020. One month later, Interjet employees held a strike and took over the airline’s infrastructure.
In the last few months, Interjet’s management has maintained that the airline will fly again, although that seems highly unlikely. One of the Interjet owners, Alejandro del Valle, was detained in September on fraud charges. At Mexico’s request, Interpol has issued an international arrest warrant for Miguel Aleman, co-founder of the airline.
Interjet has approximately US$1.25 billion in liabilities. It owes money to its employees, the Mexican government, several airports domestically and internationally, and customers.
Currently, Interjet is facing a bankruptcy process under Mexican law. The carrier hopes to strike a deal with creditors so it can re-start operations. Nonetheless, lawyers specialized in Mexico’s bankruptcy law see an Interjet revival as improbable.
Previous airline bankruptcy processes in Mexico have shown how difficult it is to re-start a carrier. Mexicana de Aviación, arguably the most famous Mexican carrier, filed for bankruptcy ten years ago, and the process is still ongoing.
Who’s the new CEO?
Despite all the legal problems, Interjet appointed a new CEO. Federico Bertrand Rubio got the job. The airline said in a statement,
“At Interjet, we continue working tirelessly so, shortly, and accompanied by our employees and providers; we can operate again and give our passengers the commercial service they deserve. Therefore, we have appointed the engineer, Luis Federico Bertrand Rubio, as the company’s new General Director and CEO.”
Bertrand Rubio has over 50 years of experience in the aeronautical business. His last job was as the General Director of Toluca International Airport. He took that previous job with the commitment to bring back the commercial airlines to Toluca. He failed. Toluca International Airport has only a couple of commercial flights per week, operated by airlines like Aeromar (Toluca-Acapulco) and Conviasa (Toluca-Caracas).
What will happen with Interjet?
The bankruptcy of Interjet was one of the top stories in the Latin American and Caribbean region in 2020. Unlike other carriers like Avianca, Aeromexico, and LATAM, Interjet was unable to protect itself. Interjet lost its 88 aircraft fleet in a matter of months.
The exit of the Airbus fleet increased the scheduling issues for Interjet, which had to cancel flight after flight. Moreover, despite its intentions to retire the Sukhoi fleet, Interjet had to assemble back a portion of its 22 Russian-made planes and use them on commercial flights. In the end, it didn’t matter: the airline folded anyway.
The airline also lost credibility among the flying public in Mexico. Many travelers receive travel vouchers that they haven’t been able to redeem or exchange for money.
Many of Interjet’s former employees have found new jobs, other carriers have taken the domestic and international market share left by the ceased low-cost operator.
If Interjet ever finds a way to bounce back, it wouldn’t be the same. It would have to begin from scratch; nonetheless, that plan looks pretty far-fetched at the moment.
Do you think Interjet could have an opportunity to fly again? Let us know in the comments below.