The Mexican ultra-low-cost carrier Volaris continues its strong performance in 2022. So far, the airline has carried over 17 million passengers increasing by 33% the number of travelers compared to both 2019 (prior to the COVID-19 pandemic) and 2021 (when the airline fully rebounded and had a record year, with 24 million passengers).
Volaris is having a strong summer season fueled by heavy demand in Mexico and the United States. In July 2022, the airline carried 2.8 million passengers, an all-time record for a single month and a 22.2% increase compared to July 2021. Overall, Volaris has carried 17.10 million passengers in the year, of which 13.79 million are in the domestic market and 3.31 million in the international segment (growing by 32.5% and 39.2%, respectively compared to last year).
Commenting on July 2022 traffic figures, Volaris’ President and CEO Enrique Beltranena said: “We continue to be disciplined about adding capacity to match our passenger demand. The Company continues to modify its network to rationalize growth in an environment reflective of high jet fuel prices and to reallocate capacity as appropriate to more profitable routes.”
Currently, Volaris offers around 3,844 flights per week, according to data provided by Cirium. With a fleet of 113 Airbus A320-family-based aircraft, the airline has more than 197 routes, connecting 43 cities in Mexico and 28 international destinations in the United States, Central, and South America (including its latest destination, Peru).
Volaris has increased its pre-pandemic traffic figures by more than 30% this year. Photo: Guillermo Quiroz Martínez via @gquimar.
What to expect in the next few months?
Despite having record numbers, Volaris posted a net loss during the first half of 2022, losing around US$98 million. The airline pointed to the high fuel prices worldwide which can only be passed on to higher fares to some extent. Enrique Beltranena recently explained that the company experienced several reactions to its efforts to pass the rising cost of fuel.
“On US routes, passengers absorbed higher prices at a slightly lower load factor. On our exclusive routes we competed only with the buses, which account for 46% of our routes, we were also able to price more aggressively with little impact on volumes.”
For the second half of 2022, Volaris expects to be more sensitive, stimulating load factors on its main routes and leveraging its market position in Tijuana, Guadalajara, and Cancun. Additionally, despite the pressures caused by the increase in fuel prices, Volaris has plenty of market opportunities, both at home and abroad. Volaris’ strength continues with the VFR and leisure segments, attracted to the airline’s many point-to-point routes.
Viva Aerobus has increased its traffic figures by an incredible 72.5%. Photo: Guillermo Quiroz Martínez via @gquimar.
Viva Aerobus also flying strong
If you think a 33% growth compared to 2019 levels, prior to the pandemic, is impressive, wait until you read about Viva Aerobus. The other Mexican ultra-low-cost carrier has also had an impressive 2022, carrying 11.3 million passengers, third place overall behind Volaris and Aeromexico, but with a much smaller fleet of only 62 aircraft (versus 113 of Volaris and 140 of Aeromexico).
Viva Aerobus has increased by 72.5% in the number of passengers in 2022 versus 2019 and by 61.9% versus 2021. Like Volaris, Viva Aerobus also posted a traffic record year in 2021.
“Strong demand continued with the much-anticipated summer season now beginning in late July compared to previous years, and extending through the end of August. Our occupancy factors recovered to 89.5%, reflecting our commitment to continue to grow in a disciplined manner. We remain cautious and are closely monitoring the macroeconomic and supply chain environment, managing capacity and providing a good passenger experience,” said Juan Carlos Zuazua, Chief Executive Officer of Viva Aerobus.