Interjet Cancels Flights Because It Can’t Pay For Fuel: Is This The End?

Filed Under: Other Airlines

Mexico’s Interjet seems to be hanging on by a thread, if that, at this point. Yesterday I wrote about how Interjet canceled flight two days in a row, and now there’s a further update.

Interjet canceled all flights two days in a row

Interjet canceled all of its flights on November 1 & 2, though as of yesterday afternoon claimed that it would resume flights as of today (November 3).

On its website announcing the cancelations, Interjet acknowledged that coronavirus had impacted the company’s cash flow. Additionally, the company claimed that some of its planes needed to enter maintenance, which caused changes to flight schedules.

However, it’s the “cash flow” issue that seemed to be the primary reason for cancelations, and that was related to the company’s inability to pay for fuel.

Aeropuertos y Servicios Auxiliares (ASA), which is the government-owned company that manages Mexico’s airports, claimed that Interjet didn’t make its payments for jet fuel, which is why flights had been canceled.

Interjet has to pre-pay for fuel, making it even more questionable whether the airline will be able to restart operations with any scale.

Even if the airline can scrape together enough money to pay for fuel for a few flights, that doesn’t bode well for the airline having a reliable schedule going forward.

Interjet has now gone silent

Interjet was supposed to resume operations as of today (November 3), so how did that go? Well, in some ways good, in some ways not good.

First of all, the airline has gone silent. Interjet’s website is down — when you visit interjet.com it redirects to interjet.com/sorry, which still doesn’t actually bring you anywhere. Meanwhile the airline also hasn’t posted anything to social media.

However, the airline did operate a grand total of two one-way flights so far today. It’s not entirely clear if the flights had passengers or what was going on. However, a plane with the registration code XA-JBA flew from Mexico City to Guadalajara, and a plane with the registration code XA-VER flew from Guadalajara to Mexico City. However, that’s it, and that’s all that seems to be on the schedule for today, even though the airline has lots more stranded passengers.

The head of Mexico’s Federal Consumer Prosecutor’s Office is today issuing an alert against Interjet, essentially warning consumers about the risk of doing business with the airline. It’s estimated that the airline left around 3,000 people stranded due to roughly 50 flight cancelations, and those cancelations are still piling up.

Interjet barely has any planes left

At the beginning of the year, Interjet had a fleet of 88 aircraft, including 66 A320-family aircraft (including some new A320neo and A321neo aircraft), and 22 Sukhoi Superjet 100s.

What has made Interjet’s fleet unique among North American airlines is its Russian-built Sukhoi Superjet 100s, which is one reason I’ve really wanted to fly with Interjet.

That brings us to Interjet’s current fleet situation:

  • For a couple of years now Interjet has been trying to get rid of its Sukhoi Superjets and move to an all-Airbus fleet, as the airline was having reliability issues with these planes
  • In recent months Interjet has returned a vast majority of its Airbus aircraft to leasing companies, meaning a majority of the company’s fleet consists of Sukhoi Superjets
  • While the airline had 22 Sukhoi Superjets, a majority of them haven’t flown in a couple of years, due to reliability issues
  • Interjet is now exclusively operating a fleet of six Sukhoi Superjets

I don’t want to be a pessimist, but the airline can’t pay for fuel, has gone silent, got rid of most of its Airbus aircraft, and is flying six Sukhoi Superjets it has been looking to get rid of for years. Never mind the fact that Interjet owes over $100 million in back taxes.

It’s hard to think that this isn’t the end of Interjet…

Interjet has returned most of its Airbus planes to leasing companies

Bottom line

Interjet canceled all of its flights on Sunday and Monday, and has gone silent today. While the airline operated two flights this morning, that’s only a small fraction of what it was supposed to operate. Furthermore, with a new warning from the government about doing business with Interjet, that can’t be good for future bookings.

Add in the fact that most of the fleet has been returned to leasing companies and Interjet was in a terrible financial situation even before the pandemic, and I can’t help but wonder if this is the end of Interjet.

That’s a shame, because I’ve heard great things about the airline, with many suggesting it’s like Mexico’s JetBlue.

What do you make of Interjet’s situation?

Comments
  1. I work at the Guadalajara airport, where Interjet used to have a big operation, serving many domestic markets as well as daily flights to various american cities such as San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Antonio. Since before the pandemic, the word on the street was that they were having a lot of financial struggle, and that they might go out of business. Right now, and since march, they only fly twice daily to Mexico City, wet leasing an ATR42 to Aeromar.

    In GDL, their ticketing office have been closed for many months, and its now a vaccination center. They had been using the common use check-in counters without access to their computer system because apparently they didn’t pay the fees necessary for using the computers. They have also been removed from the self check-in kiosk, also because of lack of payment. The last couple of weeks, they haven’t even paid the access to the check-in counters, so they simply stand in the middle of the terminal, looking for their customers, issuing manual boarding passes, bag tags, and putting their bags on the oversize baggage carousel (they cant use the regular one because they need to have a counter assigned). Many flights out of GDL have been cancelled due to lack of fuel payment in the last couple of weeks, but this total cancellation of flights is extremely worrisome.

    The frontline employees have been paid late, and many of them have been terminated. I’ve flown Interjet many times in the past and it was always a really nice experience: lots of legroom, snacks, drinks (including free alcohol). I want them to survive, but every day it seems more and more that their days are numbered.

  2. What a bummer. I flew them once (MEX-CUN) on an A320 and enjoyed the free adult beverage and decent legroom. Fairly unremarkable otherwise. They certainly seemed to be more premium than Volaris and VivaAerobus, but more affordable than AM. I really wanted to fly the SSJ but couldn’t make it work.

    When I was in MEX in Dec. 2018, the old Mexicana check-in lobby was still occupied by union reps selling souvenirs and displaying signs to support their laid-off workers. I seem to recall Interjet’s counters were some distance away, but how interesting would that be if labor swooped into that space as well. (I have no idea what Interjet’s labor relations are/were like, but obviously this is a tough time for everyone in the industry.)

  3. I’ve also wanted to fly one of the Sukhoj‘s… to bad for the employees and staff. I feel for them.

  4. Any airline with executives stupid enough to buy Russian planes deserves its fate.

    The Russians have no idea about aircraft competitive economics because the Soviets had no idea of what a market was. So the engineers produced (rather well) machines which could be very sturdy (Antonov 24/26 etc…) types but with an unsustainable weight and unbearable costs, or militarily efficient, again at a prohibitive cost. The post-Soviet airliners Tupolev 204 and Ilyushin 96 were technically sound but inoperable as they needed several Maintenance-Repair-Overhaul hours for each hour flown. The “Concordov” Tu 144 was inoperable from start.

    It’s not a matter of engineering only but one of making commercially viable planes. And that remains out of reach

  5. I flew them PVR-MEX back in late 2018, and they were fine (well, the flight was late, but otherwise it was fine), but it sounds like they’re swirling the drain…

  6. “If the airline couldn’t pay for fuel yesterday or today, how will the company secure the money to pay for fuel tomorrow?”

    I think this is more due to the fact that yesterday and today would still be considered on October in terms of futures and options contracts, as today is the first trading day in November. I could see a scenario if they were in a bad contract till november by not flying till tomorrow when they could get a better price they save more money than what it costs to rebook everyone. Just a theory but it makes sense.

  7. Sad. I flew them last year MEX-CUN and CUN-HAV and was very impressed by the leg room and service.
    Sad to see the airline wind down.

  8. I’ve flown their Sukhoj Superjet and found it much better than other planes of similar size.
    Of the three low cost carriers in Mexico I have always preferred Interjet, especially because they have more legroom.
    Sad to see them go and even sadder for a friend who found a job with them after being unemployed when Mexicana collapsed.

  9. Internet needs to start a new alliance and make Global Ghana the first code sharing partner

    Imagine the seamless synergy between these two titans!

  10. Interjet usted to be my favorite airlines in Mexico, some ten years ago. However, their pricing was not competitive. When I compared prices, Volaris was always giving smarter choices. Yes Interjet was more generous with luggage, but that is not very necessary for short trips. With its generous luggage options and miserly in-flight service it was doing a failed attempt at looking like a non-low-budget, generous low budget airlines! It wasn’t convincing. Volaris gave better baggage options, and yes, it charged for anything on board, but that was fine because you could decide for yourself.

  11. We flew Interjet in December 2019 from Mexico City to Bogotá, Colombia (our last intl. Trip). The flight attendants were extremely attentive and kind. And the extra legroom was great. Plus the price couldn’t be beat. So sad to see them go. My husband is from Mexico and were planning to use them more frequently.

  12. I flew them on a short flight from Miami to Cancun about 3 years ago on the Sukhoj Superjetwhich I was excited to fly. It had the most legroom I have even seen on a commercial flight. Other than that it was really like any other plane. Now the return flight did have a fuel leak at the gate so they had to cancel the flight and put me on a flight the next day to Miami My aunt was staying with me one night in Miami and then on to NY next day on another airline. They rebooked her strait to JFK, from Cancun the next which worked out She said they even offered food on the JFK flight. They offered snacks on the Miami one back when you didn’t even get pretzels on American. They took us to a hotel in a shuttle and picked us up the next day. When people asked for food vouchers they said , no food vouchers. This is an all-inclusive hotel. Which it was

  13. Does anybody has an idea of what can the people that purchased tickets with them do? I purchased tickets for me and my husband (we purchased them begore COVID) to travel with them this December from Costa Rica to México City and I’m not getting any answer from them and if they close operations what can we do with the tickets we already purchased?
    I would really appreciate if someone can give me any guidance

  14. RIP Interjet.

    Travelled a fair bit on Volaris Interjet and VivaAerobus. Best out the 3 I found was VivaAerobus.

  15. @Cristina Pérez Your options depend of whether u bought flight insurance beforehand, or if you purchased via agency/credit card. If you have insurance, make a claim with them, if you did via C.C/Agency, make a claim or request a refund with them (assuming u cant contact the airline at all).

  16. Too bad. Interjet was probably the better of the major 3 airlines in Mexico, in terms of an economy experience.

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