The Mexican military-run airline is taking to the skies, with its first flight to the resort of Tulum

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico took off Military-run airline On Tuesday, when the first Mexicana airline flight took off from Mexico City bound for the Caribbean resort of Tulum.

It was another sign of the huge role that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has given to the Mexican Armed Forces. The airline's military-run holding company now also operates about a dozen airports, hotels, trains and airports Customs service in the country And tourist parks.

General Luis Crescencio Sandoval, Mexico's defense minister, said managing all these diverse businesses by the military is “common in developed countries.”

In fact, only a few countries such as Cuba, Sri Lanka, Argentina and Colombia have airlines operated by military institutions. They are mostly small carriers with a few supporting aircraft that operate mostly on remote or underserved local routes.

But the Mexican airline plans to fly tourists from Mexican cities to resorts such as Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos, Zihuatanejo, Acapulco and Mazatlan. Flights seem to be scheduled every three or four days, mostly on weekends.

The carrier hopes to compete mainly on price: The first 425 tickets sold offered prices of about $92 for a flight from Mexico City to Tulum, which the government claimed was about a third cheaper than commercial airlines.

However, Mexicana's first voyage did not go according to plan. The company said that flight MXA 1788 had to change its course to the colonial city of Mérida due to bad weather conditions in Tulum. After a wait, it finally took off again and arrived in Tulum about five hours after taking off from Mexico City, about twice the usual travel time.

See also  China launches Wentian space station with giant rocket

Mexicana also hopes to fly to 16 small regional airports that currently have no or very few flights. For those worried about being told to “buckle up, that's an order,” the cabin crew on the Mexicana flight appeared to be civilians. In Mexico, the Air Force is a wing of the Army.

The airline began operations with three Boeing aircraft and two small leased Embraer aircraft, and hopes to lease or acquire five more aircraft in early 2024, Sandoval said.

López Obrador described the take-off of the first Boeing 737-800 as a “historic event” and a “new phase,” marking the return of the former government-run Mexicana airline, which was privatized, then went bankrupt and finally closed in 2010. .

The airline combines López Obrador's reliance on the military – which he claims is the most patriotic arm of the incorruptible government – with his nostalgia for the state-run companies that dominated the Mexican economy until widespread privatizations were implemented in the 1980s.

López Obrador remembers fondly the days when government-run companies ran everything from oil, gas, electricity and mining to airlines and phone services. He criticized privatizations, which were implemented because Mexico's debt-ridden government could no longer afford to operate inefficient state-owned enterprises.

“They carried out a huge fraud,” the president said in his daily morning press conference. “They have deceived a lot of people, saying that these state-run companies are not working.”

Indeed, state-run companies in Mexico have earned a well-deserved reputation for inefficiency, poor services, corruption, and political control. For example, Mexico's state-run paper distribution company has often refused to sell newsprint to opposition newspapers.

See also  Zelensky addresses the United Nations, Germany and France expel Russian diplomats in the Bucha fallout: live updates

When the National Telephone Company was owned by the government, customers routinely had to wait years for a phone line to be installed, and were required to buy shares in the company in order to eventually get service, problems that quickly disappeared after it was privatized in 1990. .

Despite its inability to restore government-run companies to their former glory, the administration portrays its efforts to recreate them on a smaller scale as part of a historic battle to return Mexico's economy to a more collectivist past.

“This will be the great legacy of your administration, and this legacy will resonate forever,” intoned the air traffic controller at Mexico City’s Felipe Angeles Airport as the first Mexicana flight took off.

López Obrador also put the military in charge of several infrastructure construction projects in the country Giving it the leading role in local law enforcement.

For example, the military built the Felipe Angeles Airport and the one in Tulum.

Aside from boosting traffic at the underutilized Felipe Angeles Airport, the military-run Mexicana looks set to provide flights to feed passengers at the President's Maya Train tourism project. The military is also building this train line, which will connect beach resorts and archaeological sites on the Yucatán Peninsula.

The Army, which had no experience managing commercial flights, created a subsidiary to be responsible for Mexicana.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *