The Japanese carrier, All Nippon Airways, will be the only Asian operator with a direct route to Mexico City.
Why did China Southern and Hainan drop the route to Mexico?
Since the introduction of the route, China Southern operated the flight with a stop in Vancouver, Canada. The problem was that the airline didn’t have fifth freedom. This means that no passenger or cargo could be uploaded in Vancouver. Advertisement
So, as some people who traveled the route between Guangzhou and Mexico City said: the second leg of the travel was pretty much empty. Advertisement
There is no current data on the load factor for the China Southern flights to Mexico. But, in 2017, Mexico’s SCT reported an average load factor of 45% on Mexico-China flights, said CAPA.
We reached both airlines for a statement regarding this topic. At the moment, we have no response. Advertisement
ANA has a big opportunity
So, this leaves two big winners: All Nippon Airways and Aeromexico.
Currently, the Japanese carrier operates daily non-stop flights from Tokyo-Narita to Mexico City. It is the longest route served by the airline. The aircraft of choice is the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner.
Aeromexico has two direct routes to Asia: Tokyo and Seoul. Last year it had a third, to Shanghai, but it had to cancel it because of the Emirate’s entry to the Mexican market.
One could argue that Aeromexico should be the biggest winner from the withdrawal of the Chinese airlines. But no. Aeromexico is currently struggling in its capacity because of the MAX crisis. And, also, Aeromexico is more focused on Europe where it had increased its frequencies to Barcelona, Madrid, and Paris.
So this leaves ANA as the biggest winner in this outlook. Second, the US carriers with codeshares with both Chinese airlines, like Delta, could also benefit from the withdrawal. Maybe shortly another east-Asian carrier, like Asiana could launch a direct route to Mexico?
What kind of market remains between both countries?
Something is true: this leaves a big window of opportunity. Latin America as a whole is not very connected with China. Mexico, even with the altitude of the capital, is the obvious port of entry, because of its geographic position. We shouldn’t overlook this.
Between January and November 2019, 93,488 residents in China came by air to Mexico. But the number of Chinese people is even higher: 146,987. So, there is something to work with. Maybe the Mexican government should look into a fifth freedom as it did with Emirates. Yes, that opinion won’t be popular among Mexican pilots, but the Chinese market is one that shouldn’t be lost.
For the time being, it seems that the small and fragmented nature of the Asian and Latin American markets, as CAPA said in 2014, will prevent the opening of more direct routes.
The Mazatlan Post