Mexico’s President Lashes Out At U.S. Airline Protectionism, Defends His Nation’s Air Safety

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is hitting back at the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s placing his country’s air safety rating under review, with expectations of a downgrade, and the implications for limiting new flights to the U.S. by Mexican airlines and placing constraints on the ability of U.S. airlines to codeshare with Mexican carriers.

According to the Mexico’s President,

  • There is nothing wrong with his country’s air safety regulators and processes

  • This is a protectionist move to help U.S. airlines at the expense of Volaris and Grupo Aeromexico.

The U.S. – Mexico aviation market is currently the largest international market in the world, driven by American tourists fly to Cancun, Cabo, and elsewhere. Although limits of Aeromexico service would also injure U.S. carrier Delta which has a joint venture with the Mexican carrier that dates to 2017. This would be especially injurious to codeshare activity, selling flights not just to Mexico but connecting flights deeper into Mexico.

However Obrador also says such a move wouldn’t matter to Mexican carriers “because they are more dedicated to internal transportation,” that their domestic market focus is large relative to current operations to the U.S. Seemingly unsure of which message he’s supposed to be touting he’s quoted as saying that “Mexican airlines could be hurt” by such an FAA move as well.

Obrador was closer to President Trump than President Biden, with the last U.S. President calling him “really great guy” and privately referring to him as “Juan Trump” as though the two were cut from the same cloth. For his part, Obrador last summer took a Delta connecting flight in coach through Atlanta to meet with Trump.

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  1. López Obrador has always been considered a left of center politician, though he ran in 2018 as more of a centrist than in 2006 when he campaigned from well to the left. He is no Trumpist, but had a pragmatic relationship with Trump; and probably does not yet know what to make of Biden. I think he may have a point about protectionism. That’s a lucrative market and certainly the large U.S. carriers wouldn’t be past seeking to discredit rivals.

  2. Right or wrong, this will blow up in the Administration’s face.
    Mexico is not just the largest air travel market with the US, they are also the 2nd largest trading partner.

    If the US couldn’t figure out how to communicate the need to improve its perception of aviation safety, there are much bigger problems with the US-Mexico relationship

  3. I agree with @Tim Dunn. If the US is really concerned with the safety of passengers, they would be working with Mexican authorities to fix whatever problems they’ve found. Cross border traffic is up, new routes are up (just look at AUS), and suddenly there’s a safety issue at play?

  4. Sorry AMLO, you are leading Mexico to be a future Venezuela and I don’t doubt that the inspections are not being honest. Maybe you should truly improve the safety for the sake of passengers safety, and forget about your bickering leftists politics.
    I am sure the country is by now sick and tired of listening to the same, instead of bringing up Mexico to a better standard, instead of the leftist culture that has pervaded the country which has the peoples leaving it in droves to Canada, the USA and Europe.

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