Last updated: 10:30 AM ET, Thu July 28 2016

The Dawn of a New Era in US-Mexico Air Travel

Airlines & Airports | Dawna L. Robertson | July 28, 2016

The Dawn of a New Era in US-Mexico Air Travel

Photo courtesy of Aeromexico

When U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and Mexico’s Secretary of Communications and Transport Ruiz Esparza inked a highly unrestricted air services agreement in Dec. 2015, they collectively did so with expectations of bolstering future trade and travel between the neighboring nations.

This expectation is becoming a reality with final approval of this landmark Air Transport Agreement occurring during Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto's visit on July 22 with U.S. President Barack Obama. According to the Transportation Department, the new agreement that goes into effect on Aug. 21, 2016 will open the door for "increased market access for passenger and cargo airlines to fly between any city in Mexico and any city in the United States."

Previously, a 1960 agreement placed limitations on the number of carriers that could operate between any given U.S.-Mexico city pair. As a key component of the U.S.-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue, the new Air Transport Agreement eliminates government interference in commercial airline decisions.

READ MORE: Treaty Ushers in a New Era for US-Mexico Air Travel

Lifting numerical limitations, the modified agreement is expected to benefit U.S. and Mexican airlines, travelers, airports, businesses and communities by allowing increased market access, better service, and lower airfares for passenger and cargo airlines to fly between city pairs.

It also removes a major obstacle facing Delta Air Lines, Inc. and Grupo Aeromexico SAB de CV. Those two carriers had requested that the U.S. Government grant them immunity from antitrust laws so they could have the ability to coordinate better flight pricing and flight connection times. Mexico approved that joint venture in May. As a result of the new Air Transport Agreement, Delta has reported that it anticipates owning up to 49 percent of Grupo by this year’s end.

In his U.S. Department of Transportation blog post, Secretary Foxx described this is an exciting time in aviation history, and that he looks forward to continuing to further elevate and strengthen the dynamic economic and commercial relationship between the U.S. and Mexico.

Foxx added that the new aviation agreement would strengthen the already strong U.S.-Mexican trade relationship. “It provides new rights to all-cargo carriers, allowing them to expand their worldwide networks, establish new routes, and provide faster services at better rates for businesses and shippers,” Foxx reported. 

“These new routes will also create new opportunities to expand the U.S.-Mexico cargo market, benefiting businesses and economies on both sides of the border. So this is a great day in U.S.-Mexican relations and for continued prosperity in both of our nations.”

READ MORE: The Story Behind Southwest’s Mexico Moves

Foxx noted that the agreement would not have been possible without the hard work of Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs, Susan Kurland, and the U.S. Government negotiating team with representatives from the Departments of Transportation, State and Commerce.

Expect even more opportunities to link your clients between U.S. and Mexico markets as the Air Transportation Agreement goes into effect on Aug. 21.

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