The U.S. Transportation Department has issued a tentative decision awarding Mexico City airport slots to six airlines, with U.S. carriers winning rights for new service to the Mexican capital from California, Florida and Texas.
The takeoff and landing slots at Mexico City became available after DOT required Delta and Aeromexico to give them up if they wanted antitrust immunity for their joint venture partnership. The government wanted the slots to go to low-cost airlines to counteract the increased market dominance that Delta and Aeromexico would gain from the joint venture.
Subject to agreement by Mexican government authorities and final DOT approval, the transfer of slots to new carriers will come in two phases. The first new services are expected to begin this summer, and the second phase should take effect before summer of 2018.
In the first phase, Alaska Airlines was a big winner, gaining tentative approval for everything it requested. The slot awards will let it begin flying to MEX once a day from San Francisco, once a day from San Diego, and twice a day from Los Angeles International. Alaska said it will use 737-900ERs for the SFO and LAX service, and regional jets from San Diego. Schedules will be announced after final approvals, Alaska said.
Also in the first phase, JetBlue won enough slots to operate two daily roundtrips from Orlando and two from Ft. Lauderdale. And Southwest received slots for two daily flights from Houston Hobby.
Mexican carriers in the first phase include Volaris, which won slots for daily service to Mexico City from Los Angeles, San Antonio and New York JFK. Interjet also got a slot pair for JFK-Mexico City service, and VivaAerobus won rights to a daily roundtrip between MEX and Las Vegas.
Slot awards in the second phase will give Southwest one daily roundtrip between Ft. Lauderdale and MEX and one between LAX and MEX. JetBlue will get slots for two daily roundtrips between LAX and MEX. Volaris is the big winner in the second phase, with slots that will allow new roundtrips from MEX to Denver, Washington Dulles, San Jose, Oakland, Ontario and Chicago O’Hare. VivaAerobus will get rights to two daily flights from MEX to New York JFK.
Have you been to Mexico City before? To me it’s one of the best places to go in North America- great food, robust cultural offerings, cool hotel scene… what about you?