Several Mexican carriers have had to cancel up to 500 flights in the last week due to an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases among their crews. Grupo Aeromexico has felt the most significant impact, being responsible for almost 87% of all the flight cancelations at Mexico City International Airport. Let’s investigate further.
Aeromexico is feeling the impact
In the last few days, Aeromexico has had a surge in COVID-19 cases, most likely from the Omicron variant, among its cabin crew and pilots. According to local reports, up to 14% of the whole staff of the airline could be temporarily out with the disease.
This surge in COVID cases has forced Aeromexico to cancel up to 485 flights in the last seven days. There has been chaos inside Mexico City International Airport (MEX) due to the scheduling impact.
Earlier this week, Aeromexico stated,
“The new wave of infections by COVID-19 has impacted global aviation, causing disruptions on some flights. For Aeromexico, the safety of our customers and employees has been and continues to be the main priority. For this reason, some of our personnel are under safety monitoring protocols, including crew members, which has involved having adjustments in our flights.”
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What other airlines have felt the impact?
Not only Aeromexico has been forced to cancel flights due to the increase of COVID-19 cases among its crew.
Aeromar, a Mexican regional carrier with an ATR-based fleet, has had to cancel up to 41 flights. Aeromar has interline agreements with carriers like Emirates, Iberia, and Copa Airlines. Both Aeromexico and Aeromar have their pilots affiliated under the same Union, better known as ASPA.
The Mexican low-cost carrier Viva Aerobus has had to cancel 28 flights during the week; Air Canada has had to scrap a couple of flights, the same number as Copa Airlines. Meanwhile, Volaris has only had to cancel one flight.
When a pilot or cabin crew member tests positive to COVID-19, the whole team onboard that flight has to quarantine while they take tests as well, said ASPA in a statement. This measure has led both Aeromexico and Aeromar into chaos as they try to use their available staff.
Overall, between January 5 and 8, Mexico City Airport had 203 flight cancelations of 3,888 departures and landings; therefore, only 5.2% of the scheduled commercial flights in the airport were canceled.
Mexico City recovery
Overall, Mexico has had one of the best recoveries worldwide from the COVID-19 pandemic. The country’s airline industry closed in 2021 with a 95% recovery compared to its pre-pandemic traffic levels, which is an impressive number.
Nonetheless, historically, January and February are the low season, and airlines tend to reduce their schedules and post net losses at the end of the first quarter. While we do not see a decline in the number of scheduled flights in Mexico City, there is no growth either.
In January 2022, there are 30,069 scheduled flights at MEX, according to Cirium’s database. That number is just 0.1% below December 2021 levels. Compared to January 2020 levels, though, MEX is 17.4% and 9.0% below in terms of flights and seats available.
Do you expect to see a further impact from the Omicron variant in airline schedules worldwide? Let us know in the comments below.