Emirates scraps plans for Dubai-Spain-Mexico route

Emirates airline said Mexican authorities' decision to only allow three flights a week makes the route not commercially viable
Emirates scraps plans for Dubai-Spain-Mexico route
Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto invited Emirates to operate this route and open new air links to connect Mexico to the Middle East, as well as key economic markets in Africa and Asia.
By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Mon 24 Sep 2018 07:46 AM

Emirates has withdrawn its application to operate flights from Dubai to Mexico through an intermediate stop in Spain, an airline spokesperson confirmed to Arabian Business

In May, Mexican airline Aeromexico’s CEO, Andres Conesa, said it was looking into ways to legally prevent Emirates from launching any “fifth freedom” flights to Mexico through a third country, saying that such a flight would endanger Mexican jobs.

Conesa’s comments came just weeks after Aeromexico announced it was scrapping plans for its own Barcelona-Mexico flights, citing the “unfair” approval of a fifth freedom flight for Emirates by Spanish authorities in March.

An Emirates spokesperson said that plans for its Dubai-Mexico route have been cancelled because of a decision by Mexican authorities to only allow three flights each week.

Controversy swirls in Mexico over potential Emirates flight from Spain

Mexico's tourism minister said that an Emirates 'fifth freedom' flight route from Barcelona would boost tourist numbers from the MENA region and India

“Emirates has extended full flexibility in proposing an operating schedule that utilised low demand slots at Mexico City International Airport,” the spokesperson said in a statement sent to Arabian Business.

“However, despite previous assurances that slots were not an issue at the flight timings requested, the Mexican authorities have informed us that we will not be able to operate daily services, but only three flights a week.”

Emirates invited

The spokesperson added that three weekly flights “is not commercially viable for us given the resource investment required for such a long distance operation, not to mention the negative impact on connectivity and convenience for our customers.”

“This is hugely disappointing, as our teams have been working hard with various stakeholders to bring this service to fruition,” the spokesperson said, adding that Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto had, on a visit to the UAE, “invited Emirates to operate this route and open new air links to connect Mexico to the Middle East, as well as key economic markets in Africa and Asia.”

Among those who had voiced their support for the establishment of Dubai-Mexico route was Mexican tourism minister Enrique de la Madrid, who said in May that the move “would be good” for Mexico’s tourism sector.

At the time, de la Madrid estimated that as many as 150,000 tourists, primarily from the Middle East and India, would travel to Mexico using the Dubai-Barcelona-Mexico City route.

De la Madrid’s comments were echoed by Emirates on Sunday, with the spokesperson saying that the airline firmly believes the new route “would have benefited consumers and businesses in Spain, Mexico and the UAE.”

“We remain positive about the potential of serving Mexico in the future when the conditions enable us to do so,” the spokesperson added.

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