Cheap Mexican Discount Flights Known As 'MIGRANT AIR' takes crossers closer to USA
John A. Quayle
blueoval57 at VERIZON.NET
Sat Oct 13 19:08:34 MDT 2007
[Courtesy of dRAt:]
Cheap Mexican Discount Flights Known As
'MIGRANT AIR' takes crossers closer to USA
By Chris Hawley - USA TODAY
Republic of Mexico City Bureau | Oct 12, 2007 12:00 AM
MEXICALI, Mexico..., Mexican discount airlines are using rock-bottom
fares to cater to legal and illegal [alien] migrants heading for the USA.
These new discount airlines in Mexico, jokingly
known among travelers as Aeromigrante, or
"Migrant Air" are doing a brisk business
shuttling migrants to the U.S. Border, turning
what was once a days-long trek in to an easy hop
for legions of workers, both legal and illegal.
"It's much more comfortable than the bus and
about the same price," said Leopoldo Torres, 37,
of Mexico City, as he stretched his legs aboard
Volaris Flight 190 to the border city of Mexicali.
He and a traveling companion, Julio Menéndez, 40,
paid $118 each, for their three-hour discount
flight to the border city of Mexicali, Mexico.
They planned to cross into the United States
illegally through the California desert.
Such migrants have become bread-and-butter
customers for airlines Volaris, Avolar, Alma,
Viva Aerobus, Interjet and Click, all of which
have started up in the past two years. Older
carriers such as Aero California and Aviacsa have
cut their own prices to compete.
"The most productive routes we have are cities
where you have those passengers who are traveling
with the idea of the American Dream," said Luis
Ceceña, a spokesman for Avolar. About 70 percent
of Avolar's passengers are migrants, he said.
For some airlines like Avolar, the emphasis on
migrant travel was a conscious decision, with
company officials structuring their routes and
fares around migrants' needs, he said. For
others, it was simply a side effect of low
prices, which have opened up air travel to millions of poorer Mexicans.
The airlines say they treat migrants like any
other passengers. The Mexican government has
promised to try to slow emigration by creating
jobs in Mexico. But by law, Mexican authorities
and companies cannot impede the free travel of
their fellow citizens, even if they suspect they
are going to cross the U.S. border illegally.
Heading for the desert
Travelers planning to cross illegally are easy to
spot. At the Hermosillo airport, a major
crossroads for migrants headed to the Arizona
desert, they are the men traveling in groups of
three and four, wearing new sneakers or hiking
boots and carrying nothing but backpacks.
"Altar! Naco! Nogales!" taxi dispatcher Javier
Montaño shouted outside the airport as he
directed travelers to vans headed to the main
staging grounds for illegal border crossers.
Because of the increased traffic, Mexican
immigration agents now check the IDs of all
arriving passengers, even on domestic flights, to
try to catch Central American migrants headed to
the border. In Hermosillo, federal police conduct
spot checks on the vans before they leave the airport.
"By law, we can't stop the Mexican (migrants),"
police Officer Carlos Zequera Arias said. "But
the Central Americans are starting to get on these flights, too."
Until the flood of discount airlines began in
2005, air travel in Mexico was too expensive for
most poor Mexicans. A one-way flight from central
Mexico to Tijuana ran $300 or more on the
country's two flag carriers, Aeromexico and Mexicana.
For most migrants, getting to the border meant
days of travel on long-distance buses - or for
the very poor, a harrowing and illegal ride on
Mexico's railways while clinging to a freight car.
The discount airlines cut costs by copying the
business model of U.S. carrier Southwest
Airlines. They fly out of smaller airports, make
several stops on the same trip, bypass
travel-agent fees by selling directly to
customers, and concentrate on a few high-volume
routes instead of a hub-and-spoke system.
Typical fares to Tijuana from Toluca, just east
of Mexico City, are now around $150 on the discount airlines.
That has opened up air travel to millions of new
customers, said José Calderoni, marketing
director for Volaris. About one-third of the
airline's passengers have never flown before, he said.
Overall, the number of Mexicans flying has jumped
36 percent since 2004. About 13.4 million people
took domestic flights from January to June,
according to Mexico's Institute of Statistics,
Geography and Information Processing.
The discount airlines have been adding planes and
routes at a breakneck pace. Avolar has grown from
one jetliner and three destinations to nine with
16 destinations. Viva Aerobus has 21 destinations
and plans to double its fleet to 10 jets from
five. Interjet has nine planes and says it will
order 20 more. Alma has 15 regional jets and 25
destinations, Volaris has 12 planes and 17
destinations, while Click has 26 destinations with 18 planes and six on order.
Migrants said one factor drawing them to airlines
is the increasing difficulty of crossing the
border. As the United States builds fences and
adds Border Patrol agents, smugglers known as
coyotes or polleros have raised their fees from $1,000 to $2,000 or more.
"So 2,000 pesos (about $180) for a plane ticket
is nothing anymore," said Guillermo Hernández of
San Marcos, Guerrero state, as he arrived in
Hermosillo on an Aviacsa flight. "You get here
rested, and you don't have to pay for food along the way."
Some of the discount airlines' fares and routes
reflect their emphasis on migrants headed north, said Ceceña of Avolar.
Avolar, for example, has direct flights to
Hermosillo from three central Mexican cities but
not a single flight going south. Volaris charges
$77 for a Toluca-Hermosillo flight, but only $48 going the other direction.
"Our routes attract many people who want to cross
the border. These are one-way passengers, which
is hard for us because, of course, we want to
sell round-trip tickets," Volaris' Calderoni said.
On the day that Torres flew to Mexicali, the
144-seat Volaris jetliner was mostly full. On the
return trip a week later, there were only 31 passengers.
The migrant trade is also seasonal, Calderoni
said. Most migrants go north in the cooler
months, when crossing the desert is easier.
Southbound travel increases during the Christmas
season, when many migrants come home with gifts and money.
The airlines say they are trying to get even more
migrant business. Avolar is offering Greyhound
bus connections from Tijuana to Fresno, Calif.,
where many migrants work on farms. Aero
California takes payments through Western Union,
used by many migrants to send money home. Volaris
says it will launch a regional advertising
campaign focusing on smaller towns, where many migrants come from.
"People can say what they want, Migrant Air or
whatever," Ceceña said. "But we have a saying in
Mexico, 'Let the other hens cackle; you take care
of your own eggs.' It's a good business for us,
and we're going to keep taking care of those customers."
AMERICAN'S: Dumb, Stupid, and Ignorant...!!!
Mexico and all them Mexican's, are laughing their butts off.
Even that guy on the plane is biting his tongue, doing all he
can to keep from grinning -- more than he already is. Even
I can see that... Talk about stupid, dumb and ignorant. Can
we get any more stupid, or any more dumber, or any more
ignorant, that we already are...? Guess what? I honestly do
think we can! And that, really is dumb, stupid and ignorant.
So when are we going to start telling the government to go
BITE US, get out our guns and go do something about it?
After all it's quite obvious to me, it's the government's fault.
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