Volaris Bolsters Network From Mexico City’s New Airport

Competition at Felipe Angeles International is starting to heat up as Volaris responds to the expansion plans of Aeromexico and Viva Aerobus.

Credit: Quetzalli Nicte-Ha/Reuters/Alamy Stock Photo

Volaris will consolidate its position as the largest operator at Mexico City’s new Felipe Angeles International (NLU) with the launch of six new routes in September.

The ULCC said its decision to expand from the airport, which opened in March on the site of the former Santa Lucía Air Force Base, was based on research that found 89% of the catchment area around the airport wants to fly, but only 30% travel by plane twice a year.

Holger Blankenstein, executive vice president of Volaris, explained that the demographic of the population near the airport therefore favors its strategy to lure passengers who have traditionally stuck to bus travel due to cost and convenience.

Volaris launched operations from NLU with daily service to both Cancun (CUN) and Tijuana (TIJ) and earlier this month added domestic flights to Huatulco (HUX), Merida (MID) and Mexicali (MXL).

On Sept. 15, daily service will begin to Guadalajara (GDL) and Puerto Vallarta (PVR) alongside 3X-weekly routes to Puerto Escondido (PXM) and La Paz (LAP). Two more routes will start the following day, connecting NLU with both Los Cabos (SJD) and Oaxaca (OAX) four times per week.

By late-September, OAG Schedules Analyser data shows that Volaris will be operating 66 weekly departures from Felipe Angeles International and 12,276 departure seats. This will give the ULCC a 40.8% share of capacity, with Aeromexico on 37.2% and Viva Aerobus on 17.7%.

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On the five new routes, Volaris will face competition on three. Only La Paz and Los Cabos are unserved from NLU at the present time.

During September, Aeromexico plans to add a new route from NLU to Veracruz (VER) and increase frequencies to Guadalajara, Monterrey (MTY), Oaxaca and Puerto Vallarta. Viva Aerobus will also begin flying to Acapulco (ACA), Oaxaca and Puerto Escondido.

In addition, Copa Airlines plans to add international service from Panama City (PTY), opening on Sept. 26 and operating three times per week, while Dominican Republic-based startup Arajet will begin a 3X-weekly service from Santo Domingo Las Americas (SDQ) on Sept. 22.

Construction of Felipe Angeles International, located about 45 km (28 mi.) from Mexico City, started in October 2019 after the decision to scrap the build of Mexico City Texcoco Airport. NLU also receives international flights from Venezuela’s Conviasa, which flies once a fortnight from Caracas (CCS).