Mexico’s expanding middle classes and rapid economic growth has fuelled demand for both leisure and business-related air travel. The 14th largest country in the world and covering a land area eight times that of the UK, Mexico boasts the most extensive network of airports of all Latin America, with almost 100 airports, and some 60 of which being international.
ABC Aerolíneas, operator of Interjet
, the country’s second-biggest airline, is entering a phase of dramatic growth with plans to triple its domestic fleet of aircraft from 37 to 111 and launch 20 new routes this year, with almost all being domestic. The move comes as part of a $4 billion expansion plan and will raise the total number of destinations served to 90 in Mexico, North America, Central America and the Caribbean.
“The secret [of success] is to have the ability to partner and to offer the most competitive service, and so give full coverage,” says Miguel Alemán Velasco, founder and Chairman of Interjet. “Due to the growth in this sector, there will be more interconnectivity and this will be reflected in greater strength to compete in the industry at a global level. At Interjet we offer low-cost flights with a friendly service and unparalleled comfort. And as a strategy in this matter, we decided to remove three rows of seats from our Airbus fleet and provide passengers with more space between seats in comparison to other airlines.”
If investors come to Mexico they will already see the changes, but if they come in two years,
this country will be completely different:
this is the time
Miguel Aleman Velasco,
Founder and Chairman of Interjet
Launched on December 1 2005 as Mexico’s first budget airline, Interjet has managed to position itself as the leader of the sector by focusing on customer service, innovation and technology. It was also the first airline in Latin America to conduct a biofuel flight in 2011. The Airbus A320 flight from Mexico City to Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, aimed to demonstrate the conversion of Mexican-sourced jatropha, an inedible plant, to a drop-in replacement biofuel that can blend with traditional jet fuel at up to 50 per cent of the overall mix.
“In technology, we sought the best in the world,” comments the chairman. “One of the most important matters for me is fuel, and it is one of the products we put all our efforts in to innovate. It may be difficult for planes to have electric engines one day, but what is prudent is to lay more emphasis on biofuel.”
In addition to heading Interjet, Mr Velasco is the former governor of the State of Veracruz. He is also the promoter of the Mexico Business Summit, which gathers economic, political, intellectual and opinion leaders from Mexico and around the world to pose real problems Mexico faces and solve them through joint efforts.
“In the 10 years this forum has been taking place, there has been an important contribution towards creating a vision of a country with growth, stability and distribution of opportunities,” says Mr Velasco. “Furthermore, through this forum, many companies and educational institutions have benefited from building partnerships and establishing links to improve their competitiveness in their different sectors.”
Mexico and the UK have proposed doubling their bilateral relations for 2015 with an agreement signed during Mexico’s hosting of the G-20 summit last year. Mr Velasco comments: “The UK is one of the major foreign investors in Mexico. The bilateral relations in commerce, tourism, education and investment are of great interest for both countries. It is obvious that one of the causes of the current problems in Europe is the lack of diversification in external markets as Mexico. Our two nations have a huge potential for mutual benefit.”
So what advice would Mr Velasco offer potential investors looking at Mexico’s options?
“According to my principles I don’t like giving advice. Generally intelligent people don’t need them and dumb people don’t understand them. Business and investment opportunities are all over the country,” he says. “Nevertheless I may suggest looking more towards Mexico and seeing the efforts made and the results obtained so far in preventing organised crime and drugs. There has been a governmental and social effort to prevent and stop them.
“Our economy is expanding and we are making progress in implementing reforms that will further boost our growth. Jobs and schools for youths who didn’t previously have a future or hope are being created. All the entrepreneurs of this country are determined to reinvest in Mexico as much as we can and further boost its growth with valuable projects and serious reforms that the new government has proposed.
“If investors come to Mexico they will already see the changes, but if they come in two years, this country will be completely different: this is the time to invest.”