Mexican ultra-low-cost airline Viva Aerobus has delayed the opening of eight new routes from Mexico City’s alternative hubs, Felipe Ángeles International Airport (NLU) and Toluca International Airport (TLC). According to the airline, there has been a delay in the delivery of new Airbus planes, which has led Viva management to change its plans. Let’s investigate further.
Aircraft delivery issues
Viva Aerobus announced yesterday that Airbus has delayed delivery of nine new aircraft as well as several components from key suppliers such as Pratt & Whitney. Due to this delay, Viva Aerobus had to postpone the launch of eight new routes, four to operate from NLU and four from TLC.
Between May 28 and June 30, Viva Aerobus received four new planes, according to statements released by the airline. Nevertheless, the ultra-low-cost company is yet to receive 34 additional planes, all Airbus A321neo, with a capacity of 240 passengers (one of the densest cabins in a narrow body).
Viva Aerobus is not the only company affected by aircraft delays. Earlier this year, Air Lease Corporation executive chairman Steven Udvar-Hazy pointed out that the supply chain from engine manufacturers to Airbus and Boeing is not equipped to meet production targets in 2022.
At the beginning of the year, Airbus set a target to deliver 720 commercial aircraft, which represents a double-digit increase compared to last year. Nevertheless, Airbus was only delivering around 47 aircraft per month in May 2022, which was well below the ideal number of 60 per month. Airbus delivered 237 aircraft in the first five months of 2022.
Airbus has delayed the delivery of nine new aircraft to Viva Aerobus. Photo: Viva Aerobus.
To cope with the delay in delivery, Viva Aerobus agreed to postpone the launch of eight routes. These eight routes would depart from alternate airports in Mexico City, Felipe Ángeles and Toluca.
From NLU, Viva Aerobus is delaying its routes to Puerto Escondido (July 15-September 1), Acapulco (July 15-September 2) and Oaxaca (July 15-September 3) and Havana, Cuba (TBD).
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From Toluca, Viva Aerobus is delaying its connections to Monterrey, Cancún and Mérida (all until September 23) and Puerto Vallarta (November).
These routes were supposed to increase the capacity of the two airports, which are currently underserved. NLU was opened on March 21 as an alternative to the saturated Mexico City Benito Juárez International (MEX). Toluca has been considered a white elephant for over a decade and has just received new commercial passenger service from Volaris in the past few weeks. Of the 3,640 weekly flights departing from these three airports, 97.5% do so from MEX.
Viva Aerobus has delayed the launch of eight new routes from Felipe Ángeles International Airport and Toluca International Airport. Photo: Viva Aerobus.
Viva Aerobus Canceled Routes
This is the second time in less than two months that Viva Aerobus has changed its plans due to delays in Airbus deliveries.
Earlier this year, Viva Aerobus temporarily suspended routes connecting MEX and Cancún International Airport (CUN) to Medellín International Airport (MDE).
At the time, Viva Aerobus said,
“This situation (to cancel the routes) is only the result of a strategic decision. The airline has had to adapt its operation, taking into account the availability of the planes, routes and markets most in demand to have an impact on the smallest possible number of passengers.
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