HARLINGEN, Texas – Jose Mulet, director of air service development at Valley International Airport, has given his analysis on the state of the airline industry.
Like most other airports, VIA has seen a sharp drop in passenger flights due to COVID-19. In VIA’s case the percentage drop is 38 percent, However, the airport has seen an increase in its cargo business.
Mulet said international flights have been most affected by the coronavirus pandemic, because travelers are often having to abide by quarantine rules when they reach their destination. Mulet said some airlines have gone under and that the downturn in business has created a price war.
Leasing an aircraft costa about 40 percent less these days and so new airlines are starting to emerge. Mulet said this is happening already in Japan and Norway.
Mulet is a former high school teacher who has worked at VIA for the past 15 years. He gave his analysis to Rio Grande Guardian anchor Nydia Tapia-Gonzalez in a Zoom conversation.
During the discussion, Mulet said VIA has zero debt and $500,000 in reserve. However, he later contacted The Rio Grande Guardian to say actual reserves now stand at an impressive $4 million! During the Zoom conversation he also talked about the runway expansion project at VIA and the importance of the Mexican market to the airport. He said VIA is advertising in Monterrey and Saltillo. “Mexico is an important market for us,” Mulet said.
Mulet said the first flight of Winter Texans into the Valley via Minneapolis would be on Oct. 28.
Tapia-Gonzales asked Mulet about his recent trip to Cincinnati for the International Air Service Forecast Convention. He said the big takeaway is that airlines and airports are placing more emphasis on the safety of passengers than ever before.
“Airlines are going out of their way to show customers it is safe to travel. Airports are taking similar steps,” Mulet said. “So the experience is seamless in terms of following all the guidelines.”
Here is the Zoom conversation:
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