AeroMexico's war against Interjet

Let’s face it, being a country’s flag carrier is not an easy task to handle. The high responsibility acquired by the simple fact of holding this position encompasses representing a nation’s values and qualities under a limited amount of time. No matter the circumstances, AeroMexico has been performing outstandingly well under global grounds by positioning third place worldwide. According to AirHelp, punctuality, service and claim processing were the three aspects that helped position the airline in the top 3. Facts are facts and there is no way to deny the aforementioned, though given the rapid appearance of the so-called low-cost carriers in Mexico, our acclaimed “Eagle Knight” has been losing its presence domestically against specifically one of these: Interjet.

Photo: AeroNewsX/Chris de Breun

Over the past decade, AeroMexico has lost approximately 3.9% of their clients annually, those of which have decided to fly with Interjet. Given the clear rivalry that arose between these two giants, giants who pretty much supply all of the demand in our country, AeroMexico decided that it was time to make a change that could bring a steadier growth for the next years. It was then that the old and very well-known chrome livery that had been with the airline for at least 30 years was decided to be changed, marking the start of the so-called 'white era'.

Photo: AeroNewsX/Paul Schmid

Additionally, the company decided to replace their long-haul Boeing 767 and 777 fleets with the practically new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. There was in fact no exception made for the oldest versions of the Boeing 737 which were set to be replaced by the new Boeing 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9. Interjet, who clearly didn’t want to fall short on the strategy taken by their competitor, took the initiative to replace their family of Airbus A320 with the fuel efficient A320neo as well as with Sukhoi Superjet 100.

Photo: AeroNewsX/Célian Génier

Two horrific accidents involving Boeing’s most successful aircraft in history, the 737 MAX 8, took the lives of 346 people; the reputation of Boeing, the world’s largest aircraft company lay scattered in the waters of Indonesia and in the soil of Ethiopia. Given the incidents, passengers feared for their lives and started becoming skeptical about flying the MAX. Such a situation ended up leading to a negative effect for AeroMexico’s strategy which shrank their growth levels even more. Such is the fear present that even a friend of mine who is not an expert on the matter, asked me a couple of weeks ago if Interjet flies the Max, after I negated the fact, he proceeded to buy his ticket.

Interjet has been studying the market for years now and has worked hard enough to adapt under a business model that is liked by many travelers. Nowadays, people are choosing Interjet over AeroMexico and any other low-cost carrier in the country. The fact is that flying these days is a necessity, reason for which Interjet has opted to offer a “flying bus” that takes you wherever it is that you are going for a considerably lower price than that offered by the Mexican flag carrier. You´ll pay for what you need, instead of paying for a complete package which you might actually not need at all. When comparing both airlines, you’ll find that they pretty much offer the same service, the only considerable difference is that AeroMexico charges you 1.5 to 2 times more money than what you would pay when flying Interjet. Watching a movie on the personal entertainment console provided by AeroMexico and which Interjet does not offer, is no longer a technological advance that we worship and that would lead us to choosing an airline over the other. In fact, a tablet, a computer or even a phone will do the job. With 34 inches of seat pitch, Interjet is the airline with the most legroom, compared to AeroMexico with between a 31 to 36- inch seat pitch depending on the airplane you are flying. Interjet offers a 25kg piece of checked luggage rather than the 23kg allowed on AeroMexico. If you want to fly Priority, Interjet offers a similar if not equally competitive plan in which you are allowed to check up to two 25kg pieces of luggage while its competitor offers two 23kg pieces of luggage. The only difference you might encounter is that AeroMexico’s Priority class (Premier) offers a more complete food service that uses a fancy set of cutlery which you might not actually need; when comparing economy classes, Interjet offers a better food service than that offered by AeroMexico, while the flag carrier offers a bag of peanuts and a glass of any drink you want. Interjet offers a variety of chips (crisps in British-English) and a bottle of whatever it is that you’ll have. Whenever people book a plane ticket, however, they usually tend to choose the cheapest available offer.

Photo: AeroNewsX/Paul Schmid

When flying domestically, you’ll find that people tend to choose Interjet over AeroMexico given the aforementioned facts. The perfect excuse for choosing AeroMexico would be flying to a destination that Interjet does not offer, the fact that your company paid for it, or the fact that you are a foreigner that would like to enjoy the complete flying experience of the Mexican flag carrier. If such is the case, the airline will welcome you to Mexico from the very first moment you step on the plane, you’ll enjoy the punctuality, friendly and socially responsible qualities found in Mexico.

However, the bottom line is this: Interjet offers a very similar product to that of AeroMexico, but has been able to sell it much more cheaply. While this doesn't give it flag carreir status, Interjet is thriving on its low cost model, and AeroMexico needs to stay one step ahead to retain its market share.

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