HARLINGEN, Texas – Now Viva Aerobus is starting a direct service from Valley International Airport to Monterrey, Harlingen has a great opportunity to increase its business ties to Mexico.
This is the view of Juan Carlos Cue Vega, Mexico’s consul in the lower Rio Grande Valley. Cue spoke at a news conference announcing the Harlingen-Monterrey nonstop flights.
“It is a pleasure for Mexico to have a very important Mexican company coming to the Valley. It is for us the opportunity to show that there are companies in Mexico that are able to overcome the situation created by the pandemic,” Cue Vega said.
“At the same times it is an opportunity for the people of the Valley and especially Harlingen to visit Mexico as often as they can. As was said, there are a lot of connections between Monterrey and other cities in Mexico.”
Cue Vega is from Oaxaca. He noted that travelers can fly via Viva Aerobus for Monterrey to Oaxaca. “You have to visit Oaxaca,” he said.
VIA has not had passenger flights to Mexico for 26 years. Cue Vega said he was thrilled to see a new air service start up.
“I was here back here 26 years ago and I remember the Valley had this flight to Mexico and it was about time to have again a flight. Thank you to the mayor of the City of Harlingen. The opportunity is there for this big city, this important city in the Valley to really become a great partner in Mexico in the upcoming years.”
The Viva Aerobus flights between Harlingen and Monterrey will start May 6. The company will use the Airbus A320 aircraft.
“It is exciting to open a new nonstop service in Texas as part of our strategy to expand Viva Aerobus’s reach to the U.S. We are looking forward to providing customers with Viva’s unmatched reliability, safety, and renowned customer-focused service offering the lowest fares,” said Viva Aerobus CEO Juan Carlos Zuazua, in a prepared statement. “Our flights will be the only nonstop service between Harlingen and Monterrey, improving convenience for travelers and access between these sister cities, which already share important commercial and cultural ties.”
Harlingen City Commissioner Frank Puente said he agreed with Cue Vega that new possibilities are opening up for Harlingen.
“I think it is monumental that we can create this kind of relationship with Mexico. With the coronavirus flattening out, it gives more opportunity to travel back and forth. I myself am looking forward to flying to Mexico,” Puente told the Rio Grande Guardian.
“I already consider Monterrey a sister city. The timing is perfect. Right in the middle of the Valley you have Harlingen direct flights to Mexico.”
Asked how important the direct flights to Monterrey will be for Harlingen, Puente said: “It puts us on the map. It is a really good thing for Harlingen. It definitely gives us an opportunity to build better and more meaningful relationships with our neighbors down south.”
Raudel Garza, CEO of Harlingen Economic Development Corporation, agreed.
“Valley International Airport is now living up to its name. We are really excited about getting this flight. Having a direct jet service from Monterrey to Harlingen and back twice a week is going to do a lot for the Valley, a lot for the business community and a lot for the tourist industry as well,” Garza told the Rio Grande Guardian.
Viva Aerobus has the youngest fleet of aircraft in Mexico and the second youngest in North America. It is based in Monterrey and flies to numerous cities from Monterrey, including Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Cancun.
Asked if the new service can open up new markets for Harlingen in Mexico, Garza said: “We are working on a lot of different sister city agreements in Mexico and Monterrey is obviously one of those. Yes, this really will help us, making sure our manufacturers have access to the facilities they work with and the customers they work with throughout Mexico, not just in Monterrey.”
Garza added: “Like the mayor said, it is a great day for Harlingen.”
Harlingen Mayor Chris Boswell is fond of saying, “It’s another great day for the city of Harlingen.” His smile seemed wider than ever, though, as he unveiled the news of the city’s partnership with Viva Aerobus.
“It is a fantastic day for Harlingen, a really great day. With connections to almost anywhere else in Mexico you want to go, it really opens up a lot of connectivity for the entire Valley to Mexico,” Boswell told the Rio Grande Guardian.
Boswell said Mexican Consul Cue Vega was “exactly right” in saying new partnerships can be forged between Harlingen and various cities in Mexico.
“It really is an opportunity for us to do that. I thought the consul’s comment about this being an opportunity to strengthen our relationships with business in Mexico, with tourists in Mexico, is exactly right. And so we are going to try to take every opportunity to do that,”Boswell said.
Boswell said he wanted to say a big thank you to the leadership at Valley International Airport.
“We have been trying to attract the right partner. Marv (Esterly) and Jose (Mulet) really worked on hard on this. Jose has done a fabulous job in putting this relationship together. And it is about relationships. But, it is a team effort. Everybody was involved, the city, our economic development corporation, our airport board, all played a role.”
Harlingen City Commissioner Michael Mezmar agreed it was a great day for his city. He said partnering with Viva Aerobus will allow local business and leisure travelers to not only fly easily throughout Mexico but also to Central America.
“Viva Aerobus flies all over Mexico, and from Monterrey you can fly into and out of Central America with multiple connections,” Mezmar said.