Between January and September 2022, Mexico received 77.89 million passengers, a 3.1% growth compared to the numbers posted in the same period in 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mexico’s growth has been fueled by the recovery of the domestic segment (led by ultra-low-cost carriers, Volaris and Viva Aerobus) and the international market to the United States (led by American Airlines).

How many passengers did Mexico have in 2022?

This week, Mexico’s Infrastructure, Communications, and Transportations Secretariat (SICT) released the latest data concerning air traffic in the country. In the first three quarters of the year, the country had 77.89 million passengers (41.31 million domestic travelers and 36.58 million international).

The country is one of the few markets worldwide to have fully rebounded, in terms of traffic, at least from the COVID-19 pandemic. Others in the Latin American region are Colombia and the Dominican Republic. Mexico remains the top Latin American market in 2022. The second-largest market this year is Brazil, with 68.8 million passengers in the first three quarters (a 78.1% recovery compared to 2019).

Mexico’s domestic market had 41.31 million passengers in the first nine months of the year. Volaris led the way with 17.13 million, followed by Viva Aerobus with 12.47 and Aeromexico with 10.77 million. Overall, the domestic market grew 4.4% compared to 2019 levels (despite Volaris and Viva Aerobus growing by larger percentages). Let’s remember that Mexico lost a key player with the cease of operations of Interjet in December 2020.

The international market had 36.58 million passengers between January and September 2022. So far, American Airlines has carried the largest amount of international passengers to and from Mexico, with 5.39 million, followed by Aeromexico, with 4.64 million, United Airlines, with 3.96 million, and Volaris, with 3.42 million travelers.

An Aeromexico aircraft

Photo: Daniel Martínez Garbuno | Simple Flying. 

Mexico’s top routes

Let’s take a quick look at Mexico’s top five domestic and international routes. Not surprisingly, the most important routes in the domestic market connect cities such as Mexico City, Cancun, Monterrey, and Guadalajara. According to data from the SICT, these are the main routes in the country:

  1. Mexico City-Cancun. 3.5 million passengers.
  2. Monterrey-Mexico. 2.29 million passengers
  3. Mexico City-Guadalajara. 2.08 million passengers
  4. Tijuana-Mexico City. 1.89 million passengers
  5. Tijuana-Guadalajara. 1.64 million passengers.

Meanwhile, there are a few surprises in the international market, including the appearance of the Mexico City-Bogota route in the top five, after having a 204.6% increase in passengers compared to 2021. These are the top five international routes in Mexico:

  1. Dallas Fort Worth-Cancun. 934,000 passengers.
  2. Houston-Cancun. 838,000 passengers.
  3. Chicago-Cancun. 749,000 passengers.
  4. Mexico City-Bogota. 677,000 passengers.
  5. Los Angeles-Guadalajara. 657,000 passengers.

Other surprises in this market are the 104.3% growth in carried passengers in the Mexico City-Madrid route and the 11.4% decrease in the number of travelers between Mexico City and Houston.

An American Airlines Boeing 737-800

Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying. 

The challenges

Despite the good results, Mexico still faces some complex challenges going forward. In the first three quarters, the three main carriers, Volaris, Aeromexico, and Viva Aerobus, all posted net losses due to an increase in fuel prices and economic uncertainty. Moreover, the country is still downgraded to Category 2 status by the Federal Aviation Administration, profoundly impacting the industry. The Mexican government expects to regain Category 1 status before the summer of 2023.

Have you traveled to Mexico in 2022? On which airline did you do it, and how did you find the experience? Let us know in the comments below.


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