15 Years Of Volaris: How The Mexican Carrier Has Grown

This month, Volaris has been celebrating 15 years of flight operations. The Mexican outfit had hit the skies for the first time on March 13th, 2006, and has seen a sharp rise through the industry. Let’s take a look at the airline’s developments amid this joyous occasion.

The carrier had already achieved plenty before heading into its Quinceañera this month. Photo: Airbus

Strong backing

The ultra-low-cost airline was first launched in 2003 when the Discovery Americas I and Columbia Equity Partners investment funds collaborated with TACA Airlines to create a new carrier. The goal was to provide more flying opportunities for the Mexican population.

Three years later, the very first service took off. This was a domestic flight between Toluca and Tijuana. There was a swift cash injection for the airline as on July 12th that year, the World Bank, via its financial arm in Latin America, granted the operator $40 million in funding. This move brought total investment up to a healthy $130 million.

International progressions swiftly got going. A codeshare agreement was announced with Southwest Airlines in the fall of 2008. Then, in the spring of 2009, Volaris shared that it would start flights to Los Angeles and Oakland from Toluca and Guadalajara, which fed into Southwest’s hubs. Flights to the US were soon expanded from all across Mexico.

Santa Lucia Airport Mexico Getty
As part of its anniversary festivities, Volaris is offering discounts of up to 80%, plus an additional 15% for V.Club members. Photo: Getty Images

Through the years

Volaris originally opted not to fly to Mexico City, despite being the capital of the country. This is because of the congestion and cost of operations flying at the busy spot. However, in September 2010, the airline was ready for the big step forward and took on several slots that had previously been operated by the now-defunct Mexicana and its subsidiaries.

The following year there was another massive jump. The carrier relocated its hub from Toluca to Guadalajara. The progress continued into the decade, as in the summer of 2012, it launched V.Club, its frequent flyer program. This initiative offers special discounts, promotions, last-minute travel deals, and other benefits for its loyal passengers.

A few months later, the airline showed that it was still intent on growing its international presence. Another key codeshare partnership was formed, this time with Germany’s Condor. Other foreign movements include the creation of its Costa Rica subsidiary in 2016.

Volaris is currently based in Santa Fe, Álvaro Obregón, Mexico City. Photo: Daniel Martínez Garbuno | Simple Flying.

An important landmark

The airline’s determination has allowed it to go on to serve over 60 destinations in Mexico, the US, and Central America, with up to over 300 daily flights. Notably, since its inception, Volaris has served over 120 million passengers. This success has allowed the airline to be traded publicly both nationally and internationally, with Vuela Compañia de Aviación listed on the Mexican Stock Exchange (BMV) and Stock Exchange (NYSE).

In a statement shared by Volaris, Daniel Gelemovich, director of marketing and digital of the airline, said the following about his company’s milestones amid the anniversary:

“One of the biggest celebrations in Mexico, without a doubt, is the celebration of XV years. It is a unique moment to share as a family, from planning to the end of the celebration. This was a unique year that changed the dynamics with our loved ones and, today, 2021 gives us the opportunity to recognize the effort of adaptation and resilience of Mexicans, through a concept that is very much our own.”

Last April, Volaris reported a network-wide passenger load factor of 87.%. Despite the impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on its services and the wider aviation industry, the airline’s active flights are remained somewhat full during the challenging period.

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Adapting well

Altogether, the carrier has managed to adjust throughout the years. It recently launched a subscription program called v.pass. The motive was to reach younger market segments that have a passion to hit the air regularly. These groups had already been flocking to digital subscription services in other fields such as entertainment. So, Volaris felt that it could be a good opportunity to apply this approach to its own market.

The move ultimately paid off as up to 30,000 passengers signed up. Moves such as this have helped the airline keep in control over the years.

Today, Volaris holds three Airbus A319s, 64 A320s, and 16 A321s within its fleet.  Photo: Airbus

A valuable presence

Miguel Aguiñiga, director of market development at Volaris stated the following about the present conditions and the airline’s plans for the future.

“Once we strengthen the network of point-to-point routes to serve those who visit, mainly friends and family, we focus on strengthening connectivity from the most important city in the country, through a strategy of expansion based on serving those who seek to experience the peculiarities of the city, as well as enjoy the main beach and business destinations.”

Overall, the carrier has had a strong rise despite not even being in the game for two decades. It undoubtedly will be keen to carry on its mission which is:

“Going above and beyond to create and provide the best travel experiences. With the best people and low prices, we enable more people to travel, and to travel WELL!”

Volaris has risen throughout the ranks to become a national entity. The head of tourism policy in Mexico City, Carlos Mackinlay, congratulated the airline on its 15th anniversary and noted that it contributes to strengthening the air interconnectivity of Mexico City with other destinations.

As the aviation industry enters a new chapter, Volaris concludes that it remains focused on preserving cash and returning to profitability as its journey progresses. Undoubtedly, the firm won’t be slowing down its growth. Last month, it recently shared that it expects up to 98 aircraft by 2028. So, the developments will continue through the decade.

What are your thoughts about Volaris’ journey over the last 15 years? Have you flown with the carrier since its launch? Let us know what you think of the airline and its operations in the comment section.