U.S. airlines waver on flights to Mexico beach destinations

Photo: Getty
  • Photo: Getty

International tourism in Mexico is still growing well beyond industry averages, but some airlines are reconsidering some flights to the Riviera Maya and other beach resort areas.

They cite decreased demand and rising competition following a 2016 alliance that opened up air travel to Mexico.

United, Delta, American and Spirit are taking a new look at flights from the United States to the beaches of the Mexican Caribbean in particular, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Some flights have already been eliminated.

 

The news comes as Cancun’s airport expansion plan was reported, even as waves of violence plague the region.

“While the region is more challenged than others, flights to Mexico, these destinations in particular, had pretty severe demand weakness due to increased supply and travel warnings,” United’s Andrew Nocella said, according to transcripts of an earnings call.

American Airlines’ President Robert Isom said the company’s Latin America business showed “strength across the board, with the exception of Mexico pleasure markets.” Delta President Glen Hauenstein echoed that, also announcing a reduction in service there.

Mexico is the sixth-most visited country in the world, more than half of the tourists from the U.S., said TravelPulse. Five years ago, Mexico was ranked 15th most visited in the world, according to TravelPulse.

“In regards to the recent decreased demand compared with prior years from some of the legacy U.S. airlines, the exact causes for this are not yet known,” added the spokesperson. “It may be related to the rapid expansion of connectivity to Mexico in the past 12 months by those airlines and by competitors in the U.S. and Mexico.”

 

A substantial increase in flights to Mexico from the United States came after the 2016 renegotiation of the bilateral agreement.

Immediately after the accord, Southwest began offering three new nonstop flights from Los Angeles to Cancun, San Jose Del Cabo and Puerto Vallarta. Delta launched daily nonstop services from New York JFK to Cancun and from Los Angeles to Los Cabos, as well as a Saturday flight from Kansas City to Cancun. American Airlines started new daily flights from Los Angeles to Cancun and Puerto Vallarta.

Before the frenzy was over, about 400 new routes between the two countries had reportedly been approved. Now ample analytics exist to evaluate these flights.

“There has to be an adjustment after big growth in big markets such as Los Angeles and Chicago,” Rodrigo Esponda, managing director of the Los Cabos Tourism Board, told TravelPulse.

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