United Airlines is adjusting service to Mexico, eliminating three destinations entirely and reducing service to others.
In a leaked internal memo, United announced several routing changes starting next month. Note that United has doubled capacity between the USA and Mexico over the last decade, so this is not a retreat from the market. Still, United’s failure to spur demand marks a setback for United’s broader aspirations in Mexico.
Here are the changes and their effective dates:
- MEX (Mexico City)
- Effective June 23, no longer offer weekly service between DEN and MEX
- Effective August 20, reduce IAH-MEX service by one daily frequency
- Effective October 4, United will increase EWR-MEX service to three times daily, while ending service between LAX-MEX.
- BJX (Leon, Guanajuato)
- Effective October 4, end twice-daily service between LAX and BJX.
- Effective October 28 introduce new daily service between ORD and BJX
- QRO (Queretaro)
- Effective December 19, increase service to four times daily between IAH and QRO.
- SLP (San Luis Potosi)
- Effective December 19, upgauge IAH-SLP service from the 50-seat Embraer RJ145 to the 76-seat Embraer E175.
- HUX (Huatulco)
- Effective June 23, United will no longer offer service from IAH.
- MZT (Mazatlán)
- Effective August 18, United will no longer operate service between MZT and IAH and ORD.
- VSA (Villahermosa)
- Effective June 28, United will no longer operate service between IAH and VSA.
International Network VP Patrick Quayle stated:
Mexico remains an important piece of our international route network. While the decision to discontinue service to these cities was a difficult one, we will continue to closely monitor demand for travel in the region and look for new flying opportunities for our customers.
And that’s fair. Still, Los Angeles is losing not only Leon, but Mexico City! So is Denver. I remember when United once had three daily flights from LAX to MEX. It is sad that United has been unable to make this route work from two western hubs. United has fierce competition on the LAX-MEX route, but only competed with Volaris from DEN.
If you are affected by these schedule changes, United will be in touch in the coming days with revised itineraries or the option for a refund.
The Mexico market is a tough one and a competitive one. While United’s decision to cut service to Huatulco, Mazatlán, and Villahermosa is no surprise if the profit wasn’t there, the fact that United could not compete from its two hubs is a red flag for its future in Mexico.