Government & Politics
 

Direct AeroMexico flights from New Orleans to Mexico City have been cancelled

Tuesday update:

Political unrest in Honduras, the swine flu epidemic in Mexico and resulting travel advisories took a toll on the demand for flights out of New Orleans, said Michelle Wilcut, spokeswoman for Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.

The now-canceled direct AeroMexico flights, which had a final destination to San Pedro Sula, Honduras, also suffered as a result worldwide economic crisis.

A statement released by Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s office places the decision to cancel flights during the Nagin administration but that they are now working towards expanding service:

“The decision to cancel the route was made by the airline while the Nagin administration was still in office.  The Landrieu administration, the Airport, and tourism industry leadership are working diligently on expanding service to Armstrong International Airport to ensure that New Orleans remains a world class travel destination.”

A year after AeroMexico teamed up with local business and civic leaders to trumpet the return of direct flights from New Orleans to Mexico City, the service has been quietly suspended.

Airport spokeswoman Michelle Wilcut said any statement about such service changes would come from Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s office, which did not return calls for comment.

City Council President Arnie Fielkow, who serves on the council’s airport committee, said the loss of the only international direct flight from Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport hurts.

“Loss of service would be a detriment to the city,” he said Friday evening, noting that a he’d not heard of the cancelations until contacted by a reporter.

Direct service began in July 2009 with six flights weekly. The announcement signaled the beginning of international traffic in and out of the city after Katrina, with the Mexico City flights traveling on to the final destination of San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

But in March, the service was decreased to two or three times weekly depending on the demand for service.

According to a AeroMexico flight reservations representative, the flights were suspended three weeks ago.

Compared to connecting in Houston or Dallas and spending at least five hours traveling, the direct two-hour, 45 minute flight represented a significant decrease. Such connecting flights are still available to travelers leaving from New Orleans.

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  • http://www.afrolicofmyown.com Frolic

    That’s a shame.

  • http://www.davidlida.com David Lida

    It is a drag for those of us who travel between the two cities frequently, but the service had complications since its inception.

    Early on, they canceled the daily service and began to schedule sporadic flights (two or three times per week depending on demand). With this system they were playing their cards so close to the vest that unless you reserved way in advance — over a month — the flights were sold out. So I ended up getting the connecting flights anyway.

    They also raised the prices early on. First time I did that trip with Aeromexico it cost about $340 round trip. It went up to about $700! Delta, Continental and American all do the connecting flights in the $500 range, if you reserve within a week or sometimes days.

    It adds another three hours or so to the trip but now there are no options. So much for New Orleans “International” Airport. In our dreams.

  • Angelo Young

    As someone who works in the planning authority told me: New Orleans shouldn’t try to be an Atlanta or a Houston. The last time the city tried that a lot of ugly tall buildings in the CBD sprouted up in some ugly past dream of turning NOLA into an oil capital. (Before that the city didn’t have very many structures that were higher than five floors.) NOLA is what it is, and I think people place too much emphasis on the symbolism of having a direct international route at Louis A. I don’t think losing an Aeromexico route is a big deal. I suspect the decision was an attempt in part to cash in on the influx of Mexican laborers in the Gulf region, hoping they would travel back and forth. It’s too close to Houston for that. As far as tourism is concerned: having lived in Mexico I got the feeling that Mexicans in general don’t see NOLA as an appealing tourism destination. And NOLA residents traveling to Mexico on vacation? Yeah, some surely do. But I also don’t sense that the residents of NOLA have strong enough demand for Mexico tourism to justify a direct route. Heck, more than half the city can’t afford to vacation beyond the beaches of Gulfport anyway. (Insert emoticon here.)

    Moral of the story: There’s plenty to be distressed about around here. Crime. Spillage. Roads. Blight. Flooding. Poverty. Let us spare ourselves lament over Aeromexico’s departure.

  • jeffrey

    Wait a minute. The service was instituted during the Nagin administration too. Why does it have to be Nagin’s fault that it’s being halted?

  • http://www.FleetBuzz.com ConcordeBoy

    ***As someone who works in the planning authority told me: New Orleans shouldn’t try to be an Atlanta or a Houston***

    …good thing you didn’t mention this genius’ name, lol.

    ***The last time the city tried that a lot of ugly tall buildings in the CBD sprouted up in some ugly past dream of turning NOLA into an oil capital.***

    What you said makes no sense… particularly in a historical context, as you essentially have it backwards:
    “the last time the city tried that,” Houston and Atlanta were attempting to be New Orleans!

    They succeeded, many times over.

    ***and I think people place too much emphasis on the symbolism of having a direct international route at Louis A***

    “symbolism”?

    Uh, no. International flights historically bring in higher yield per passenger than domestic. That’s a fact. The more international flights a gateway tends to have, the more the metro stands to earn on a per-passenger basis. Why do you think airports (particularly secondary and tertiary gateways) make such a big deal out of int’l nonstops in the first place?

    ***Moral of the story: There’s plenty to be distressed about around here. Crime. Spillage. Roads. Blight. Flooding. Poverty.***

    Congrats, you just described every significant city in the SouthEast and Gulf Coast.

  • Frank Rabalais

    Sounds like the flight was badly managed – David’s comments are illuminating – and its launch did indeed coincide with a number of highly unfavorable events – particularly the political unrest in Honduras, the flight’s immediate destination. I’m sure that a patient operator could build demand for a well-managed Central American route or two (as the airport supported the same pre-Katrina, and our metro-area Hispanic population has grown appreciably since 2004), particularly if there’s sufficient governmental support – maybe a one year partial subsidy? – to allow the operator to be patient, advertise extensively and build demand. Maybe we can get Grupo TACA service back? The Toronto nonstop flight news bodes well, too (WestJet).

  • Elwin Lopez

    It’s a shame Aeromexico is suspending its service to central america. But, now we have two airline (WestJet and the recent announced Air Canada) with services between Toronto to New Orleans. Its just takes time for international airline to comeback. Still hoping for Central and South American lines and even a european line