vivaaerobus optimises Monterrey network; Texas routes developing slowly

Image: Vivaaerobus route launch
Vivaaerobus launched daily flights to Guadalajara last week from its base at Monterrey. Monterrey is the fourth busiest airport in Mexico with almost 6.6 million passengers in 2008.

Vivaaerobus launched scheduled services from Monterrey in Mexico on 30 November 2006 using two 148-seat 737-300s. Set up as a joint venture between IAMSA (one of Mexico’s biggest bus companies) and Irelandia (an investment company run by the Ryan family of Ryanair fame) the airline has since grown to seven aircraft (all 737-300s) and will this summer operate 17 routes from its Monterrey hub as well as six other routes, including two to Austin, Texas.

Chart: vivaaerobus
Source: DGAC Mexico

In the airline’s first full year of operation (2007) it carried some 1.22 million passengers on domestic routes at an average load factor of 65.3% on 12,600 flights. Last year domestic passenger numbers increased less than 10% to 1.33 million but the load factor improved over five percentage points to 70.5%. While the top seven airlines in the crowded Mexican domestic market each have over 10% of passengers, vivaaerobus ranks in eighth place with just under 5% of the market.

Passenger load factors topped 80% for the first time last July but during the last quarter of 2008 passenger demand was down around 23% as the airline cut capacity as domestic demand fell.

Map: Monterrey
Not many airlines proudly include bus services in their route map, but vivaaerobus is part-owed by one of Mexico’s biggest bus companies (and Ireland’s Ryan family who you may have heard about before).

Monterrey is the fourth busiest airport in Mexico with almost 6.6 million passengers in 2008. Aeromexico is the biggest airline at the airport with vivaaerobus possibly ranked second ahead of Interjet, Mexicana and Aviacsa who currently have similar scheduled seat capacity.

The airline has avoided serving the highly competitive market between Monterrey and Mexico City which is Mexico’s busiest domestic route with over two million passengers. Despite serving 17 destinations at present from Monterrey (mostly with a single daily frequency) the airline has also served at least 12 others during its brief existence. According to anna.aero’s own database vivaaerobus has operated flights from Monterrey to Aguascalientis, Austin, Cuernavaca, Durango, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Mexicali, Morelia, Queretaro, San Luis Potosi, Tampico, Torreon and Zacatecas.

Chart: Ryanair’s Miss July
They couldn’t be more different: vivaaerobus’ charity calendar brunette and Ryanair’s blonde Miss July only serve to underline the vast differences between these two airlines, despite some common shareholders.

Of the six non-Monterrey routes the airline operates three involve Culiacan and two are to Austin, Texas. Flights between Austin and Cancun began last May (as did since abandoned Monterrey-Austin flights), while Puerto Vallarta-Austin flights began in mid-January. The airline’s international routes have struggled so far as according to government statistics just under 63,000 passengers were carried between May and December 2008 at an average load factor of just 52% (assuming all flights were operated by the airline’s 148-seat 737s).


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