In 2021, Mexico had the best recovery worldwide in terms of passengers and flights, by nearly recovering 95% of 2019 levels. This year, the Mexican airline industry aims to fly even further and go back to growth.
A capacity increase
The Mexican Tourism Board expects a 22.5% capacity increase in 2022, compared to 2019 levels. There will be approximately 31.5 million seats available on domestic and international flights throughout the country throughout the year. Three years ago, Mexico had 24.4 million seats available.
Likewise, the country expects to see an increase in the number of flights. In 2022 there will be approximately 190,513 operations in Mexico, a 2.1% more than in pre-pandemic times.
Derived from this recovery, Mexico expects to receive up to US$35.1 billion in revenue coming from the airline and tourism sectors, said the government in a statement.
Throughout the pandemic, Mexico has remained with open borders. This openness has allowed the country to recover faster, as passengers found in Mexico an easy-to-get-to destination. For instance, US carriers operating in Mexico had a nearly 20% increase in the number of travelers by the end of 2021 compared to 2019.
The hottest destinations in Mexico
According to OAG and the Mexican government, the country’s top five destinations will be Cancun, Mexico City, Guadalajara, San José del Cabo, and Puerto Vallarta. The first, fourth, and five cities are leisure destinations, highly connected with the United States; in 2021, Cancun even became the second most important international destination worldwide, just behind Dubai, according to ForwardKeys.
Cancun is set to have 33.3% of all available seats throughout Mexico in 2022 and nearly 30% of all the flights. The Mexican destination has connectivity with North America, South America, Europe, and the Middle East.
Mexico City is the business hub for the country. In 2022, the government expects 31.9% of all seats to land at one of Mexico City’s airports (there’s one opening on March 21). Nearly one in three flights will land or depart in the capital city.
Meanwhile, Guadalajara, San José del Cabo, and Puerto Vallarta take a smaller fraction of the pie. Each will have only 8.5%, 8.2%, and 6.6% of the seats available in the country and similar percentages in the number of flights.
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Mexico has seven domestic airlines. These are Volaris, Aeroméxico, Viva Aerobus, Aeromar, Magnicharters, Aéreo Calafia, and Transportes Aéreos Regionales. The first three are the main competitors, having 97% of the domestic market share between January and November 2021, according to data provided by the Mexican government. Meanwhile, the other four carriers are regional players with very niche markets.
Up to November 2021, Volaris and Viva Aerobus had posted 20% plus growths in terms of passengers, both domestically and internationally. These two low-cost carriers had an incredible year, returning to profitable levels and taking every advantage the pandemic had to offer. Both launched flights to Colombia; Viva Aerobus announced new partnerships with Viva and Allegiant Air; Volaris signed a new aircraft order during the Dubai Airshow.
Meanwhile, Aeromexico has been a bit behind on its recovery, but it is almost back there too. By November, the airline had a 1.4% passenger growth compared to 2019 levels, fueled by the domestic market. Aeromexico expects to be profitable again in 2022.
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