By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Aeromexico director general has said that the airline is working under the assumption that Emirates will be ultimately prevented from operating its planned 'fifth-freedom' flight to Mexico through Barcelona
Aeromexico plans to continue its legal challenges to Emirates planned flights to Mexico through Barcelona that are scheduled to begin on December 9, according to the airline’s director general, Andres Conesa.
Last week, a Mexican court ruled that a previous legal challenge from Aeromexico was not enough to prevent the flights, which are the result of a July bilateral air services agreement with the Mexican government to operate the fifth-freedom flight from Barcelona.
In an interview with the Spanish-language ‘El Financiero’ at a forum of the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association on Tuesday, Conesa said Aeromexico plans to continue to seek “reasons” from the government on why it has allowed the Emirates flight to proceed.
“These guys [Emirates] have neither a Spanish nor a Mexican flag. What are they doing here? As Mexicans, that’s what we should be asking ourselves,” he was quoted as saying. “They have nothing to do here.”
Aeromexico has repeatedly said that the planned Emirates route puts its own Barcelona-Mexico flight at risk, as well as the jobs of Mexican nationals.
“So, now they will be allowed to come and take away Mexican job sources?” he asked.
For the time being, Conesa added, Aeromexico plans to continue its Barcelona-Mexico route and is working under the assumption that Emirates’ planned arrival at Mexico City’s Benito Juarez International Airport will ultimately not take place.
“We haven’t taken a decision [about what to do] in the event that they fly. We are perfectly competitive and have the ability to compete with the best in the world ... It would be good to keep insisting and asking the government what the benefit is of bringing this airline to Mexico.”
While Emirates had no comment on Conesa’s remarks, an airline spokesperson told Arabian Business that a previous statement in which it noted that “the MoU is valid” and that “all our rights remain valid and in force” still stands.
Regarding Conesa’s implication that the airline is subsidised, the Emirates spokesperson noted that a long-standing statement from the Dubai carrier – made in response to similar allegations from US airlines – states that such claims are “a myth”.
While Aeromexico and the country’s pilots union have opposed the Emirates flight, Mexico’s Civil Aviation Authority and tourism officials have both expressed their support.