Viva Aerobus Plots U.S. Growth Following Safety Upgrade

vivaaerobus airbus jet
Credit: Joe Pries Aviation

Viva Aerobus has unveiled plans to open six new routes to the U.S. following the FAA’s decision to restore Mexico to the agency’s highest safety rating.

The new transborder services are all from Monterrey, connecting the city with Austin, Texas; Denver; Miami; New York; Oakland, California; and Orlando, Florida. The ULCC is also launching three new domestic services, marking the airline’s largest-ever expansion from the Mexican city.

Mexico’s safety rating was downgraded by the FAA to Category 2 in May 2021, preventing the country’s airlines from adding new routes, increasing frequencies or changing equipment—including aircraft upgauging. However, Category 1 status was reinstated on Sept. 14, ending a 28-month saga.

Viva Aerobus operates 20 nonstop routes between Mexico and the U.S. at present, including six from Monterrey International Airport (MTY). The first of the six new services will start on Jan. 25, 2024, connecting MTY with Denver twice a week.

The launch will be followed by flights to Austin from March 9 with four frequencies per week; to Orlando on May 9 with three roundtrips per week; and to Miami and Oakland on July 1, with three and two weekly flights, respectively. Details of an MTY-New York John F. Kennedy route will be announced at a later date.

In Mexico’s domestic market, Viva Aerobus will also commence operations to Tapachula on Nov. 2, 2023, with three flights per week; to La Paz on Dec. 23 with 2X-weekly frequencies; and to Durango on April 18 with three services every week. Earlier this month, the carrier also opened reservations for daily flights to Tulum, beginning on Dec. 1.

Viva Aerobus CEO Juan Carlos Zuazua says the new routes mark a “before and after” in terms of Monterrey’s national and international connectivity, increasing the airline’s capacity at MTY by 23% to around 13 million seats during 2024. “[The routes] to the U.S. are designed to serve the world’s largest international air market with a low-cost option that truly makes it easier for people to visit their relatives and friends, vacation or do business,” he adds.

The carrier has long sought to further increase its U.S. network, but has been hampered by the Category 2 status, which has also delayed the implementation of a proposed joint venture (JV) with Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air. The two airlines unveiled their new partnership in December 2021, which includes plans by Allegiant to invest $50 million in Viva Aerobus.

Mexico’s Federal Economic Competition Commission authorized the commercial agreement unconditionally in October 2022, but the U.S. Transportation Department halted its review into the planned JV on July 31, citing “outstanding questions relating to the continued implementation of the U.S.-Mexico air transportation agreement.”

David Casey

David Casey is Editor in Chief of Routes, the global route development community's trusted source for news and information.