MCALLEN, Texas – Jeremy Santoscoy, the deputy director of aviation for the City of McAllen, has given his analysis on the demise of Aeromar.

The Mexican airline announced last week that it was ceasing operations. Based in Mexico City, Aeromar few throughout Mexico and also McAllen, Laredo, and Cuba.

“That’s a tough pill to swallow with Aeromar ceasing operations network-wide and folding. That was a very, very tough pill to swallow,” Santoscoy said in McAllen International Airport’s monthly report to the McAllen Economic Development Corporation board of directors.

“They were great collaborators. I know they collaborated great with Keith and this board, and the community of McAllen. They serviced McAllen for 13 years out of the 35 years that they operated. So that was a pretty big, significant, impact to the area.”

Santoscoy was referring to Keith Patridge, president and CEO of McAllen EDC.

Jeremy Santoscoy, deputy director of aviation for the City of McAllen.

On the “About Us” page of its website, Aeromar boasted that it was the only airline in Mexico that had operated for more than 35 years without interruption. 

“Transportes Aeromar, S.A. de C.V. (Aeromar) is the oldest airline in Mexico. The company, with 100% private capitalization and headquartered in Mexico City was incorporated in January 1987, initiating regular regional operations from the Toluca International Airport on November 7 of the same year. In April 1988, the company was authorized to transfer its operational base to the Mexico City International Airport (AICM). Currently, we operate a daily average of 100 flights with punctuality of over 93 percent,” the website stated.

In a statement last week Aeromar acknowledged it had financial difficulties.

“This decision responds to a series of financial problems the airline was experiencing as well as the difficulty of concluding agreements with viable conditions that would have guaranteed the long term operations of Aeromar,” the statement said.

“The company’s team made profound financial adjustments to improve the situation, but in an adverse environment, worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic, the measures taken were not sufficient to stabilize the company’s situation.”

In his remarks to the MEDC board, Santoscoy confirmed Aeromar had financial difficulties.

“They definitely had some challenges, financial challenges. During the pandemic they did not get a government subsidy like the American airlines did. They had some issues and they did what they could to try to salvage what they had. They made a lot of cuts, they took pay reductions and ultimately, they succumbed to the financial pressures.”

However, Santoscoy said Aeromar deserves a lot of credit.

“They introduced a lot of great routes to McAllen to the area, nonstop flights to Mexico, predominantly Mexico City, which served the area for a long time. Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta. Monterrey was one of those they put an asterisk by. We got creative in the collaboration with them during the pandemic: three daily flights to Monterrey during the pandemic, which had never happened before in McAllen’s history. So that was a big sign of the collaboration we had with them.”

Santoscoy said Aeromar’s share of the passenger market at McAllen International Airport was not huge. “Overall it’s a one to two percent impact on our total volume. So, we will feel a little bit of an impact with the cessation of their operations.”

Santoscoy said Aeromexico, Viva Aerobus, and Volaris have stepped forward to support customers who previously booked tickets with Aeromar. He said passengers with a booked Aeromar flight are encouraged to reach out to these carriers for an opportunity to rebook their trips. 

Moving forward, Santoscoy said, McAllen airport leaders will be looking to find alternative carriers that can fly directly from McAllen to Mexico. “We continue to be in front of the Mexican airlines to see how we can fill that gap,” he said.

The Rio Grande Guardian International News Service sought reaction from other aviation directors in the Rio Grande Valley.

“Well, I guess this just leaves Valley International Airport with the only commercial service international flights the RGV as Sun Country will begin their seasonal service to Cancun in late May,” said Marv Esterly, aviation director for Valley International Airport in Harlingen.

Bryant Walker is assistant city manager and aviation administrator for the City of Brownsville. He was asked if Brownsville-South Padre Island International Airport could fill the void left by Aeromar and stage direct flights to Mexico.

“We’ve been talking to both domestic and international carriers. Right now, the (Mexican) State Department is not allowing new routes from Mexican carriers. So, we cannot really do anything and we’re sort of in a holding pattern. Until that is lifted and Mexican carriers can make new routes, we don’t see massive expansion of the traditional carriers or even the new entrants into Mexico,” Walker said.

“We just don’t see it. Unless something changes with the State Department or there is some massive demand that we are currently unaware of…like I said, we’re just working on building our relationships keeping those really strong with the airlines so that as soon as they come out of that we can hopefully just activate something. That would be ideal.”

The City of McAllen issued a news release about the demise of Aeromar. 

“McAllen International Airport collaborated closely with Aeromar to provide international air service to the region. Aeromar’s partnership with McAllen International Airport served 199,358 passengers and operated 6,982 flights to and from McAllen from 2009 to 2023.  Their partnership was mutually beneficial as McAllen International Airport’s commercial airline traffic grew into one of the ten busiest airports in Texas,” the news release stated.

“Although Aeromar generated only about two percent of McAllen International Airport’s record travelers in 2022, the airline was an important partner for McAllen, as it provided the only non-stop route to Mexico City throughout South Texas.”

Roel “Roy” Rodriguez is city manager for the City of McAllen. Rodriguez said: “Forging strong relationships is the essence of who we are at the City of McAllen, and we are sad to lose this important collaborator,” said. We stand in solidarity with our colleagues at Aeromar, thank them for their partnership throughout the years, and thank them for their tireless efforts at saving the airline.”

In 2022, McAllen International Airport led the region with 45 percent of the Valley’s commercial air service market share. The airport partners with American Airlines, United, and Allegiant to serve six nonstop destinations including Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Nashville, and seasonal service to Orlando and Los Angeles.

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