By Albert Kuan
Viva Aerobus adds Mexico City to Los Angeles and Houston Operations
Mexican low-cost carrier Viva Aerobus started serving Geroge Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston and Los Angeles International Airport from its Mexico City hub on July 16 and July 17, respectively. A new domestic route to Tampico from Mexico City was also launched by the airline on July 16 as well.
The low-cost carrier made the announcement of the new services on July 1, two weeks before the start of service. According to a Viva Aerobus representative, there were no celebrations to commemorate the launch of the new transborder services due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Viva Aerobus will serve Houston with two weekly flights — flight number VB152 — departing Mexico City on Sundays and Thursdays at 6:20 a.m., arriving in Houston at 9:05 a.m. The return service — flight VB153 — departs Houston at 10:15 AM and arrives back in Mexico City at 12:55 PM. Los Angeles will also be served twice a week on Mondays and Fridays. The Los Angeles-bound flight — VB144 — leaves Mexico City at 1:00 p.m. and arrives in Los Angeles at 3:25 p.m. The return flight — VB 145 — departs Los Angeles at 4:55 p.m., arriving back in Mexico City at 10:55 p.m.
The airline first launched service to Houston from Monterrey in April 2010 and to Los Angeles from Guadalajara, Mexico, in December 2017. The airline increased its operations in Los Angeles in 2019, offering seasonal non-stop service to Monterrey. Houston and Los Angeles are also served from Mexico City by Aeromexico and Volaris, while Interjet has temporarily suspended all international services due to their financial situation.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Volaris temporarily suspended flights between Mexico City and the United States, flying only from Guadalajara, while Aeromexico temporarily suspended service to several U.S. cities, including Houston, flying mainly to Los Angeles.
Viva Aerobus operates a fleet of Airbus A320s, consisting of 19 A320-200 and 18 A320neo jets. The airline competes with Mexico’s two largest carriers, Aeromexico and Volaris, and has operating bases in the cities Mexico’s three largest airports: Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey.
Although the airline has also cut service during the pandemic, the airline is optimistic and seeks to increase its operations as Mexico lifts its restrictions. Unlike Interjet, which has lost nearly its entire backbone fleet of A320s, Viva Aerobus is intent on taking delivery three more A321neo and two more A320neos later this year. The airline received its first A321neo aircraft late last month.
“[The jets] allow us to keep reducing costs for the benefit of our passengers since we continue offering low prices that are key to boost tourism and the air sector in the current crisis,” Viva Aerobus Chief Executive Officer Juan Carlos Zuazua said in a press release.
According to the airline, Viva Aerobus is increasing its operations by 70% in July compared to the previous month. It will increase its number of operating services from 52 to 88 routes in July. As it regrows its network, the airline is also intent on providing more connections out of five Mexican cities: Cancun, Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey and Tijuana.
Contrary to Volaris, which started charging for carry-on bags in January 2020, the low-cost carrier includes 22 pounds of carry-on baggage on its most basic fares.