Mexico's low-cost Volaris airline eyes Central and South America expansion
MEXICO CITY, July 20 (Reuters) - Mexican low-cost airline Volaris plans to expand to Central and South America in coming months, Chief Executive Enrique Beltranena said on Tuesday, as the carrier acquires new planes and creates a subsidiary to serve the region.
Volaris VOLARA.MX, now the largest airline in Mexico by passenger transportation, plans to open a new business unit at the end of the third quarter in El Salvador to boost its Central America presence.
"There is enormous potential in Central America," Beltranena said in an interview with Reuters.
"We feel that it is a market that does not have the correct service, is overpriced and has a middle-class population that needs to move, as well as small and medium-sized companies that require transportation for their business," he added.
Volaris currently has routes to Guatemala City, San José and San Salvador. Beltranena said in the fourth quarter Volaris intends to start flying to Colombia, the first step in its plans to explore new markets in the south of the American continent.
Volaris shares rose last week to an all-time high of 44.77 pesos after the airline reported it returned to profit in the second quarter, for the first time since the pandemic began, thanks to higher sales driven by its strategy of offering lower prices than its traditional rivals.
On Tuesday, the airline's shares closed up 7.98% at 45.19 pesos.
At the end of June, Volaris had a fleet of 92 aircraft. Beltranena said it expected to close the year with 101 aircraft in operation and end 2022 with 113 units.
(Reporting by Noe Torres; Editing by Drazen Jorgic and Leslie Adler)
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