United States – Mexico: Opening the Skies Further…


It may prove to be one of the last changes to US aviation policy under the current administration but the expansion of open skies between the United States and Mexico is significant for all concerned. Effective 21st August, any city pair can be operated by any qualifying carrier; previous limits on the number of airlines that could provide services are removed and its open season for new routes and airline entrants. The key question though is whether there will be any interest and demand given the existing levels of service. 

There are already some seventeen airlines operating between the two countries offering over 2,200 scheduled flights a week and providing nearly 300,000 seats so it’s hard to say that the market is not already well served. Or is it…..

Data extracted from OAG’s Traffic Analyser for the latest twelve-month period suggest that there remain opportunities for further scheduled service development from a combination of underserved and unserved city pairs. Over 630,000 passengers last year connected via Mexico City to complete a journey between the United States and Mexico; some 31,000 to travel between Los Angeles and Cancun alone highlighting established markets where large indirect numbers continue to exist highlighting the underserved element. Equally amongst the unserved markets its interesting to see that major markets such as Seattle, Orlando and Las Vegas all have relatively limited direct service to major cities in Mexico. For instance, Seattle – Mexico City is not currently served directly but has an indirect flow of some 44,000 passengers per annum; Orlando – Monterrey 15,000 and Las Vegas – San Jose Cabo 18,000 passengers per annum.

With low frequency operations increasingly used to develop markets the insight provided from the OAG tools suggest that come the 21st August a whole new series of opportunities will become available for airlines and that connecting via Mexico City or a major US gateway will no longer always be necessary for some travellers between these two very close markets.

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