Mexico’s airports see domestic traffic fall 8.4% in 2008 Q4; Mexico City and Cancun both report annual growth

Image: Mexicana Link launch
No lesser mortal than the President of Mexico himself, Filipe Calderon, was guest of honour this week at the launch of Mexicana Link which immediately began two services from its base in Guadalajara to Monterrey and Puerto Vallarta.

Data for the final quarter of 2008 shows that Mexico’s domestic air travel market fell by 8.2%. Domestic traffic fell in each of the last six months of the year. International air travel fell by around 5% during the final quarter.

Chart: Mexican domestic traffic, Year-on-year change in passengers - 1/2006 to 12/2008
Source: DGAC Mexico

The collapse of three carriers (Aerocalifornia, Alma and Avolar) in the second half of the year has left 10 airlines competing in the domestic market, down from 14 just two years ago. Seven airlines now have between 10% and 20% of the Mexican domestic market.

Chart: Mexican domestic air travel market
Source: DGAC Mexico

The demise of Guadalajara-based Alma is now being compensated for by the creation of Mexicana Link, a new low-cost regional carrier which started operations this week with the first of up to 13 CRJ 200s.

Mexico City routes still dominate domestic traffic

Eight of the top 10 domestic routes in 2008 involved Mexico City. The top three domestic routes linking Mexico City with Monterrey, Guadalajara and Cancun all saw demand increase though the next three busiest routes all saw traffic declines.

Chart: Mexico’s top 15 domestic routes 2008
Source: DGAC Mexico

The Mexico to Oaxaca routes replaces the Guadalajara to Toluca route as the 15th busiest in the country. For the second straight year the fastest growing major route was between Toluca and Cancun which has now broken into the top 10 at number nine.

Initial 2009 data shows trend continuing

Data from the various airport operating companies suggests that the first two months of 2009 are similar to the end of 2008. Outside of Mexico City the country’s major airports are operated by one of three companies.

Organisation 2008 passengers Main airports (2008 pax)
ASUR 17.8 million across 9 airports Cancun (12.6m), Merida (1.3m)
GAP 22.3 million across 12 airports Guadalajara (7.2m), Tijuana (4.0m), Puerto Vallarta (3.3m), San Jose Del Cabo (3.0m), Hermosillo (1.3m)
OMA 14.1 million across 13 airports Monterrey (6.6m), Culiacan (1.1m), Acapulco (1.1m)

Mexico City (AICM) handled 26.2 million passengers last year, up 1.3% on 2007. These four companies report monthly traffic statistics which are summarised below.

Chart: Mexican airport groups, Year-on-year change in passenger numbers: 1/08 to 2/09


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