Mexicana de Aviación was inaugurated in 1921 and was Mexico's biggest and flagship airline. The carrier suspended operations in 2010; at the time, it was the oldest airline in the country. In January 2023, the Mexican government purchased the Mexicana brand, planning to relaunch the carrier as a state-owned entity. On December 26, 2023, the new-look Mexicana took to the skies again with the inaugural flight from Mexico City to Tulum. However, things did not occur as anticipated.
The original Mexicana was a beloved brand, so there was much fanfare when it was announced that the carrier would make a comeback. The revived Mexicana is not officially known as Mexicana de Aviación, as the original iteration was. Instead, the new-look carrier's legal name is Aerolínea del Estado Mexicano, literally translating to "Airline of the Mexican State". Considering the airline is now a state-owned entity, it makes sense why this would be its official name.
The government owns the new Mexicana, while SEDENA, Mexico's Ministry of Defense, manages the carrier. This ownership and management structure provides background on why the carrier's first aircraft is an ex-Mexican Air Force 737-800. The aircraft is registered XA-ASM and was formerly registered 3526 with the Mexican Air Force. Former Ship 3528 is also expected to join Mexicana soon. These 737s have an all-economy layout with 180 seats.
Mexicana expects to incorporate ten leased aircraft into its fleet in 2024. The carrier is based at the Felipe Ángeles International Airport (NLU), an airport expected to replace the current Benito Juarez International (MEX). However, it did not achieve a significant level of success with most passenger airlines.
The Felipe Ángeles airport has attracted significant passenger traffic with Mexican and certain Latin American carriers. It has additionally received cargo traffic and is expected to become Mexico's largest cargo hub in the coming years. Mexicana will serve the following cities from NLU:
- Campeche (begins December 28)
- Ciudad Victoria
- Puerto Vallarta
Mexicana's inaugural flight occurred on December 26 from Mexico City Felipe Ángeles (NLU) to the newly constructed airport in Tulum (TQO). The flight operated as MXA1788 and departed NLU shortly after 8:00 a.m. local time. However, due to fog in Tulum, the flight was forced to divert to Mérida, about 162 miles away. After over an hour in Mérida, the flight continued to Tulum. Upon landing, it was discovered that the plane had a fuel leak, which delayed the return flight. The aircraft still made it back to NLU, albeit slightly behind schedule.
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