The Mexican military launched a commercial airline this week with services to tourist destinations and Caribbean resorts.
Mexicana airlines celebrated its inaugural departure from Mexico City’s Felipe Angeles airport on Tuesday with the enthusiastic support of the federal government.
“This will be the great legacy of [President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s] administration, and will echo throughout eternity,” an air traffic controller announced as the new venture’s first flight departed.
The flight crew on Mexicana planes are civilians, but the airline’s operations are managed by an independent subsidiary of the Mexican Air Force, which is itself a subset of its Army branch.
The inaugural voyage hit some snags after poor weather conditions forced Flight MXA 1788 to re-route to the city of Merida before arriving at its final destination of Tulum hours later.
Mexicana aims to provide air transportation from major metropolitan areas to resorts and vacation areas, including Cancun, Los Cabos and Acapulco. It hopes to expand to provide service at smaller, regional airports as well.
The Mexicana brand is among the oldest in the world of aviation, established as a government-run venture in 1921. It was later sold and privatized before going bankrupt in 2010.
The president celebrated the relaunch of the iconic airline as “a historic event” for Mexico.
López Obrador has championed the Mexican military as the most reliable and corruption-free institution in the country.
He has criticized previous administrations’ decisions to sell off and privatize state-run companies as cash grabs without the best interests of the nation in mind.
State-controlled ventures in energy, mining, communications, printing, transportation and many other industries were dismantled throughout the 1980s, as federal authorities claimed they could not effectively root out widespread corruption that compromised the efficiency and fairness of the companies.
“They carried out a big fraud,” López Obrador said during a news briefing. “They deceived a lot of people, saying these state-run companies didn’t work.”