Mexicana Airlines suspends operations

August 30, 2010 5:52:18 AM PDT
Mexicana Airlines is shutting down while it tries to work through its financial troubles. The last few Mexicana flights left from O'Hare Saturday morning.The airline filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this month and was expected to cease operations at noon.

It's been seven days since new ownership took over operations for Mexicana Airlines, but not even that could keep the Mexican air carrier flying. The airline, which filed for bankruptcy in the United States and Mexico on August 2, is ceasing operations indefinitely.

Mexicana is Mexico's largest air carrier. It operates eight flights out of O'Hare Airport every day. A lot of Chicagoans rely on Mexicana to get them to their families in some of Mexico's smaller cities where other airlines do not fly to directly.

In court filings Mexicana said it was badly hit by the swine flu outbreak last year that scared away travelers for months and by the global economic slowdown. They also added that high fuel costs and their inability to reach cost-cutting agreements with their unions didn't help either.

Mexicana had three flights scheduled Saturday out of O'Hare, all of them to Mexico City. The 2 a.m. flight left on time. There also was a 7:40 a.m. flight, but it was unclear whether the 2:55 p.m. flight would depart or if that flight would be canceled.

Passengers at the airport on Saturday morning said they just hope the suspension doesn't go on for too long.

Passengers whose flights were cancelled are being placed on alternate flights or receiving full refunds. On Mexicana's website Saturday morning, there was a brief message to customers stating: "Mexicana Airlines suspends its operations indefinitely. Financial deterioration and lack of agreements force Mexicana Airlines to stop flying. Mexicana deeply regrets all inconveniences caused to its passengers."


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