Aeromexico Adds New U.S. Route Despite FAA Downgrade
Aeromexico has been given the green light to open a new route to the U.S. during the second quarter of the year despite Mexico’s Category 2 safety rating with the FAA.
The FAA downgraded Mexico’s safety rating from Category 1 status in May 2021, meaning Mexican airlines cannot add new routes and frequencies to the US. The decision also prevents equipment changes, such as swapping in larger aircraft.
However, Aeromexico has secured approval from US authorities to begin flying from Felipe Angeles International (NLU) to Houston George Bush (IAH) from May 1. Service will be daily using Embraer 190 aircraft.
Flights have been approved because the airline already serves Houston from Mexico City’s main Juarez (MEX) hub, operating up to 3X-daily at the present time. As the newly opened Felipe Angeles also serves the Mexico City metropolitan area, the FAA has concluded that it does not equate to a new route, given it covers the same city pairs.
Houston will be the ninth destination Aeromexico serves from Felipe Angeles, and the first route to connect the airport with the U.S.
A statement from the SkyTeam alliance member said: “After a regulatory assessment and an evaluation of current conditions, U.S. and Mexican authorities approved this route considering that [NLU] also serves the metropolitan area of the Valley of Mexico. Aeromexico is working closely with the Mexican aviation authorities to recover Category 1 aviation status.”
OAG data shows that there are four international routes operating from NLU at the present time. Dominican Republic-based startup Arajet serves Santo Domingo Las Americas (SDQ) 4X-weekly; Conviasa flies from Caracas (CCS) once a week; Copa Airlines offers a 3X-weekly connection from its Panama City Tocumen (PTY) hub; and Viva Aerobus provides three round trips per week to Havana (HAV).
Felipe Angeles is located about 45 km (28 mi.) from Mexico City. Construction of the airport started in October 2019 after the decision to scrap the build of Mexico City Texcoco Airport. It opened in March 2022.