The Mexican former low-cost carrier Interjet is looking to operate again in 2022. Interjet aims to restart operations with a mixed fleet of Airbus A320 and Let L-410 Turbolet aircraft, which seems like an odd and risky option. Let’s investigate further.
Not learning from the past?
New Interjet’s CEO, Luis Federico Bertrand, recently announced that the company wants to have a second stint flying commercially through Mexico. This Interjet 2.0 is aiming to fly within the next six months (then again, six months ago, the airline management said the exact same thing, and here we are).
To relaunch the company Interjet needs approximately US$1 billion. The Mexican airline would start operations with a fleet of ten Airbus A320 aircraft. Then it would grow, focusing on the regional market, acquiring ten Let L-410 Turbolet planes, said Bertrand, as reported by Mexican media outlet Expansión.
Interjet ceased operations on December 11, 2020. The company folded due to the COVID-19 crisis, financial constraints that began long before, and many operational issues, some of which were fleet-related. Interjet’s demise was in part fueled by acquiring 30 Sukhoi Superjet aircraft (it only ever received 22 units).
While Let Kunovice is not Sukhoi and does not have the same issues as the Russian company, one must ask if Interjet would be repeating the same mistake? A low-cost carrier mostly thrives by having a fleet commonality. There are no L-410 commercial planes in Mexico; therefore, Interjet would have to get the appropriate permissions and training to use this aircraft. Having two different types of airplanes doesn’t seem like a wise decision for Interjet.
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Operating from Mexico City
If Interjet ever operates again (and that’s a big if), it would do it from Mexico City’s three airport system.
Bertrand said the company would fly from Mexico City International Airport (MEX), Felipe Ángeles International Airport (NLU, or AIFA), and Toluca International Airport (TLC). Interjet would be back to its roots, as it first mainly flew from Toluca before moving to MEX after Mexicana’s cease of operations in 2010.
Initially, Interjet would look to serve the domestic and regional market. The Mexican carrier would directly compete with other regional operators like ATR-based Aeromar and Embraer ERJ145-based TAR.
What does Interjet need to fly again?
Interjet needs an investment of US$1 billion. Nonetheless, legally it also has several tasks to fulfill. The airline is currently facing a strike from its employees, so it has to get a payment settlement. Interjet also owes approximately 40 billion pesos (US$1.8 billion) to Mexican tax authorities, according to Expansión.
The airline’s CEO said,
“We think it is wise to say that, in approximately five to six months, we will be able to relaunch the company, only if we have the backup from the authorities. First, we have to eliminate the debt Interjet has with tax authorities, airports, providers, and employees.”
Additionally, Interjet would have to return the 22 Sukhoi aircraft that it operated in its first stint. They belong to the French investment bank Natixis. The carrier is set to invest between US$4 and US$6 million on each airplane to return them to an airworthiness status.
Do you believe Interjet will be able to fly again? Let us know your comments below.