July 29, 2009

Mexican airlines face safety, fees issues

Mexico in recent years has grounded seven discount airlines for safety violations and failure to pay government fees, the country's airline regulator says.

Four airlines were grounded after failing maintenance checks, Gerardo Sanchez Henkel, the head of enforcement at Mexico's Communications and Transportation Department, tells USA Today. Three other discount airlines were grounded because they didn't pay government fees on time, he said.

Safety and financial issues are important Sanchez Henkel told the newspaper.

If any ... airline has a problem with debts, then we're going to take note, he said. If we're seen as too severe, so be it.

He added, This is not harassment.

The safety issues center on discount airlines that largely operate domestic routes.

Mexico's two largest and most established airlines, Mexicana and AeroMexico, are still operating.

Several other airlines, including Aviacsa, Azteca Airlines, Magnicharters and Republicair, had service suspended but have since returned to the air. Additionally Aero California, Avolar, Nova Air are yet to return to service.

Aviacsa was grounded last month after inspectors found 280 separate problems with the company's planes, Sanchez Henkel said.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration also barred Aviacsa from flying in the United States at Mexico's request.

Aviacsa resumed flying after a court overturned the suspension but was grounded again July 6 due to $21 million in late air-traffic control fees, USA Today said.


Refiling to clarify article from July 23, 2009, regarding operating status of several airlines.