Swine flu had only brief impact – Mexican domestic air traffic down less than 5%

Image: WestJet’s Toronto to Cozumel launch
Last week’s Route of the Week, WestJet’s Toronto to Cozumel, was sent off from Canada by a local mariachi band and then greeted on the tarmac in Cozumel by… another. International traffic was initially hit hard by swine flu but in October had picked up sufficiently to be less than 5% below last year.

The impact of the swine flu outbreak in Mexico back in May had a relatively brief impact on air travel figures. Demand was already down around 10% between January and April and since July demand has been down around 7% versus 2008.

Chart: Mexican domestic traffic development - Year-on-year change in monthly passengers: 1/06 to 10/09
Source: DGAC Mexico

The collapse of three carriers (Aerocalifornia, Alma and Avolar) in the second half of 2008 has left 10 airlines competing in the domestic market, down from 14 in 2006. Six airlines now have between 10% and 20% of the Mexican domestic market.

Chart: Mexican domestic air travel market - Airline passenger market shares: 1/2007 - 10/2009
Source: DGAC Mexico

Aeromexico and Aeromexico Connect (Aerolitoral) have a combined share of 35.1% in October while Mexicana, Mexicana Click and Mexicana Link have a combined share of 30.2%. As a result Mexico’s two leading airline groups share almost two-thirds of the domestic market. The three leading independent low-cost carriers (Interjet, vivaaerobus and Volaris) share around 30% of the market.

Chart: Mexican international traffic development - Year-on-year change in monthly passengers: 1/08 to 10/09
DGAC Mexico

International traffic was hit even harder by the swine flu outbreak and has taken longer to recover. Only in October has demand picked up sufficiently to be less than 5% below last year’s levels. The good news is that last week Canada’s WestJet started several new routes from various airports in Canada to several Mexican airports including Cancun, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. Other new routes this winter to Cancun include San Salvador (with TACA) and St Louis (with Aeromexico starting this week).


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