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Introduction to VivaAerobus
The VivaAerobus airline codes are: IATA Code: VB // ICAO Code: VIV (updated from AEN)
The Mexican airline Aeroenlaces Nacionales, S.A. de C.V., better known by its commercial name of VivaAerobus, came into being through the union of Mexico’s largest coach company, Grupo IAMSA, and the owners of one of Europe’s most famous budget airlines, the Ryan family, in this case, through its family investment fund, Irelandia Aviation.
The partners, Grupo IAMSA and Irlandia Aviation, founded VivaAerobus in Nov. 2006
After an initial investment of US$ 50 million by its partners, VivaAerobus launched services in November 2006 with a fleet of just 2 Boeing aircraft -the 737-300s- from its operational base at Terminal C of Monterrey’s Mariano Escobedo International Airport, in the northern state of Nuevo Leon.
The inaugural flight was on November 30, 2007., from Monterrey to León, Guanajuato
IAMSA is the owner of coach company Flecha Amarrilla and many other brands, nowadays operating around 11,000 coaches in Mexico and transporting around 350 million passengers a year, whilst Irelandia Aviation is also an important partner in Tiger Airways of Singapore, as well as the Las-Vegas based airline Allegiant in the USA. The latest addition to the collection was VivaColombia, which launched services in May 2013.
VivaAerobus’ original partnership was between Grupo IAMSA (51%) & Irelandia Aviation with 49%
During 2007, its first fully-operational year, VivaAerobus transported over a million passengers and, on July 30, 2008., the magic passenger number of 2 million was reached, just 9 months after announcing its first million, and this with a fleet of just 7 Boeing 747-300s, the 7th aircraft having been delivered just two months prior, in May, 2008.
VivaAerobus received its 7th Boeing 747-300 in May 2008, just prior to registering 2 mn passengers
VivaAerobus announced its first mainline routings on January 30th, 2008., to the US city of Austin (Texas), though the services didn’t actually begin until May 1 of the same year, eventually offering flights between Austin and four Mexican cities: Cancun, Guadalajara, León and Monterrey. These services were withdrawn at the close of May, 2009., the company citing reduced demand due to the Swine Flu outbreak as the cause.
In April 2010, VivaAerobus landed in Mexico City offering flights to Monterrey and Guadalajara
After arriving to Mexico City in April 2010, VivaAerobus took the decision to turn it into a focus city for the company due to the demise of the former flagship carrier Mexicana de Aviación, which withdrew services in August 2010. The company’s ‘focus city’ operations in Mexico City continued until April 1, 2011., when it announced it was converting the airport into one of its official hubs.
By March 2011, VivaAerobus had increased its destinations from its 3rd hub in Guadalajara to 13
In June 2013, VivaAerobus inaugurated its fourth ‘hub,’ this time in Cancun International Airport. The preparations for the new hub included investment of MXP30 million in the construction of two hangers, in which it initially based 4 of its aircraft so as to cover services from Cancun to Oaxaca, Reynosa, Tampico and Torreón.
VivaAerobus chose Cancun for the site of its fourth hub, which was inaugurated in June, 2013
In a perhaps surprising move, only a few months later, the airline -as they say- took the decision to change horse in the middle of the race (for passengers) -in October 2013- when it announced an order for 52 Airbus A320s, 12 being of the A320ceo (current engine option) model, the other 40 being the A320neo (new engine option). At the time of the order, the airline was operating 19 x Boeing 737-300s.
On October 21, 2013., VivaAerobus announced an order with Airbus for 52 aircraft, the A320s
The plan was that VivaAerobus would replace all the Boeing aircraft in its fleet by the close of 2016; this renovation process actually began in February 2015, with the arrival of the first A320; at the time, the airline stated the idea was to incorporate between 6 and ten aircraft per yer, to conclude the order in 2021; the cost of the 52-aircraft order -at the time of the announcement- was US$5.1 billion.
VivaAerobus’ Airbus order was the largest in Latin America at the time, at a cost of over US$ 5 billion
In June 2014, VivaAerobus appeared in the list of the ‘Top 500 Most Important Companies in Mexico’ for the first time, at position number 312; the said list is produced by the national magazine Expansión, part of the portfolio of the Grupo Expansión México editorial Group.
VivaAerobus entered Expansion magazine’s list of the ‘Top 500 Mexican Companies in 2014,’ at #312
In addition to the renovation of the company’s fleet, VivaAerobus also launched a change in its operations -in March 2015- in a bid to create a better customer experience. The company redesigned its official Website (Dec. 2014) and launched several changes including increased (ticket) flexibility, as well as the creation of ‘Viva Smart,’ a program with a larger baggage allowance, amongst other benefits. Then, in August 2015, VivaAerobus introduced seat allocation, thus coming into line with the competition.
In July 2015, VivaAerobus’ monthly international passenger numbers peaked at 25,000
In October of 2016, VivaAerobus retired its last Boeing aircraft and thus completed its fleet renovation process to operate solely Airbus A320s. Meantime, the airline announced its plan to open a new base at Tijuana International Airport (TIJ), which meant it would be competing strongly with Volaris, which at the time operated 60% (approx.) of the flights at TIJ. Tijuana airport inaugurated a pedestrian bridge (the CBX SkyWalk) on Dec. 9, 2015., connecting the airport directly with San Diego, on the other side of the Mexican-US border, thus becoming the first binational airport in the Americas, a fact that no doubt influenced the decision to open VivaAerobus’ fifth base there.
VivaAerobus launched its first services out of Tijuana on November 19, 2015., destination: Mexico City
Beginning in January 2016, several reports appeared in the local press that The Ryan Family’s Irelandia Aviation was looking to sell its 49% share in VivaAerobus and, for his part, Juan Carlos Zuazua, the Director of VivaAerobus, stated that the company was hoping to find an opportunity for a foreign partnership of some kind to launch new international services in 2017; in reality the new partnership didn’t actually happen until 2018 – see below.
On Sept. 28, 2016., VivaAerobus announced it had been integrated into the Sabre GDS system
VivaAerobus chose “Training By Airbus” to provide simulator training and other courses for its pilots, maintenance personnel, flight operations engineers and cabin crews, and was sending its personnel to Miami. However, the European manufacturer agreed (in Sept. 2015) to create a new training centre in Monterrey, located in the Monterrey Del Norte International Airport, to focus on the A320 Family aircraft.
In Dec. 2016., VivaAerobus became a 100% Mexican airline owned wholly by Grupo IAMSA
On Dec. 9, 2016., VivaAerobus, announced that it had acquired the whole of the Ryan Family’s Irelandia Aviation participation in VivaAerobus (49%) and thus became a wholly Mexican airline. As part of the deal, Grupo IAMSA sold its 25% participation in the airline Viva Colombia to Irlandia Aviation and as a result, Declan Ryan, founding partner of Irelandia Aviation; John Goode, senior partner at Irelandia Aviation and Paula Doherty, Director of Finance at Irelandia Aviation, renounced their positions in the Board of Directors of VivaAerobus.
VivaAerobus launched its own-brand credit card in May 2017, in partnership with Scotiabank
The airline launched its own APP at the start of Dec. 2017., for its present and future mobile telephone clients for use with the operating systems iOS and Android. At the time, Juan Carlos Zuazua, director general of VivaAerobus, predicted the APP would have over a million users within a year, adding that by then it should represent about 10% of sales.
VivaAerobus became the leading capacity airline at Monterrey (MTY) for the first time in 2017
And, as announced by VivaAerobus on Oct. 19, 2017., in 2018 the airline launched charter services in partnership with the U.S. travel agency Vacation Express, the Atlanta-Georgia-based company, member of Sunwing Travel Group Inc. As a result of this new partnership, VivaAerobus began offering weekly charter services between Cancun and Chicago, as of Feb. 17, 2018; then incorporated further charter services on the route Cancun-New York (Newark), also with 1 weekly frequency, as of March 31, 2018. As of Dec. 1, 2018., VivaAerobus also operates charter flights from Cancun to Cincinatti, and on Feb. 16, 2019., the company launched services to unite Cancun with North Carolina and Tenessee. Other future options are said to include connections between Canada and Los Cabos / Puerto Vallarta, this time in association with Sunwing Vacations.
The airline began offering charter services between Mexico and the US for Vacation Express in 2018
As of Feb. 2, 2018., this airline began operating its program ‘Viva Tarifas,’ whereby passengers can choose from Viva Light, Viva Básico and Viva Smart, which offer differing baggage allowances: 10 kg. hand luggage, // 10 kg. hand luggage + up to 15 kg. in documented luggage // 15 kg. hand luggage + 25 kg. in documented luggage, respectively.
VivaAerobus finally and successfully launched its IPO on the Mexican Stock Exchange (BMV) in the 1Q18
After initially talking about the idea back in 2010, VivaAerobus finally carried out its Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the Mexican Stock Exchange (BMV). The company actually planned the IPO for 2013 but cancelled due to market conditions; then, on March 26, 2018., it actually launched its IPO. The original plan, according to a company press release, was to place MXP 500 mn. on the market, but in light of the demand, the amount was doubled, finally placing MXP 700 mn., followed by a further MXP 300 mn. to walk away with MXP 1 bn. The Certificates were issued with the following codes: Viva00118 and Viva00218.
VivaAerobus has teamed up with Avenger Flight Group to develop new training facilites for its staff
On June 26, 2018., VivaAerobus announced it had partnered (for 10 years) with Avenger Flight Group (AFG) to develop a new training center for its pilots and cabin staff, to be located close to the company’s head offices in Monterrey, more specifically, at the Industrial Park named Flexpark, which houses offices, teaching salons and press-room facilities, as well as Level D Flight Simulators for the company’s A320 aircraft, of which it plans to have a total of 55 by the year 2022. The first flight simulator was due to be delivered in September 2018.
In January 2019, VivaAerobus reported it had transported over 10 million passengers -for the first time- throughout 2018 (up 22% on 2017), boasting an occupation factor of 89% for the year
As of January 2019, VivaAerobus began its partnership with the Mexican travel agency Viñales Tours, -promoting packages to Cuba- by launching its flights for the agency between Cancun (CUN-CMW) Camaguey Ignacio Agramonte International Airport, the latter serving both the city of Camaguay and the tourism resort of Santa Lucia.
In January 2019, VivaAerobus teamed up with another travel agency, this time the Mexican operator Viñales Tours, providing charter flights to Cuba
The above services were followed -on April 13- with the connection between Mexico City (MEX-VRA) Veradero Juan Gualberto Gómez International Airport, Cuba., the most-famous sun and sand resort on the Caribbean’s largest island, and -on April 17- the company added its direct route between Mexico City (MEX-HAV) Havana. VivaAerobus added more Cuban services from its bases at Monterrey (MTY-HAV) Havana and from Guadalajara (GDL-HAV), for Summer 2019.
In 2019, VivaAerobus introduced routes to Cuba from Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey with Viñales Tours
Also in Jan. 2019, VivaAerobus announced its seasonal route between Puebla (PBC-TGZ) Tuxtla Gutiérrez (TGZ) would become regular as of May 9, from when the route will be covered with two weekly flights on Mondays and Thursdays. And to close the month -on Jan. 31, 2019- VivaAerobus -for the fourth time- successfully issued (this time long-term) certificates by way of the Mexican Stock Exchange (BMV) to the tune of MXN 1 bn.
On January 31, 2019., VivaAerobus once again -for the 4th time- successfully issued stocks by way of the Mexican Stock Exchange (BMV), this time to the tune of MXN 1 bn
The company has also introduced a whole host of new routes this year, kicking off with Mexico City (MEX-OAX) Oaxaca (OAX) and to Hermosillo (HMO), as well as uniting Cancún-Hermosillo / Cancún-Tijuana, and Los Cabos-Tijuana / Mazatlán-Tijuana and many more; by November 30, 2019., -its 13th Anniversary- the company had broken its previous annual passenger record to register over 10 million.
In November 2019, VivaAerobus celebrated its 13th Anniversary and announced it had transported over 61 million passengers since its launch, and added 23 new routes throughout 2019 to offer a total of 118, 100 domestic and 18 international (including charter services) to bring the total destinations to 47
Also -as part of the 13th Anniversary celebrations- VivaAerobus signed an agreement with the AMAV (Asociación Mexican de Agencias de Viajes – Mexico’s Travel Agents Association), a deal which includes packages to the Mexican Republic’s 121 Magic Towns, which were chosen due to their historical and natural attractions.
To reach the abovementioned 10 million passengers by the end of November 2019, VivaAerobus transported over a million in each of the following months: June, July, August and October
VivaAerobus Passenger Numbers
Regarding its passenger numbers, according to DATATUR,* in 2015 VivaAerobus transported over half a million more travellers than its 2014 total in the domestic market, closing 2015 with 4,361,420 passengers, compared with the 3,897,254 passengers in 2014, and thus translating to a year-on-year increase of 11.9% and a domestic market participation of 11.7%.
VivaAerobus’ annual passenger increases in 2015 were: 11.9% (domestic) and 112.3% (international)
*Passenger statistics source:
*DATATUR – National Statistical Information System of Mexico’s Tourism Sector
On the international front in 2015, VivaAerobus more than doubled its 2014 figure of 35,213 passengers, closing the year with the figure of 74,751 passengers transported, up 112.3% on 2014, though the figure only represented 0.4% of the international market, when a total of 6 Mexican airlines were offering scheduled international flights.
VivaAerobus’ international passenger headcount in 2015: 74,751, represented 0.4% of this niche
As for 2016, once again according to DATATUR*, its domestic numbers fell just short of 6 million, with a total of 5,975,745 passengers, meaning the company added a further 1.6 million passengers to its 2015 result. In 2017, the company once again reported positive numbers, adding over 1.6 mn additional domestic passengers to reach a figure of 7,653,256 seats filled, thus translating to a year-on-year increase of 28.1%, meaning it was placed #4 among the country’s top airlines in this market niche.
In 2017, VivaAerobus had the largest domestic passenger increase (28.1%) of the country’s top airlines
The airline’s international passenger count in 2016 was 64,768 for the year, down almost 10,000 on its 2015 result in this niche. However, in 2017 its international numbers managed to return to the positive trend and registered an annual total of 86,145 passengers, a year-on-year increase of 33%, or 0.2% of the total international market niche.
Just o.1% behind Aeroméxico Connect, in 2017 VivaAerobus upped its domestic market share to 16.9%
*DATATUR – National Statistical Information System of Mexico’s Tourism Sector
Of the most important commercial airlines in Mexico regarding passenger numbers, the ULCC VivaAerobus registered the largest percentage increase in 2018, having transported over ten million passengers for the first time in one year; more specifically, 10,014,062 passengers travelled with this carrier on scheduled services throughout the period to show a year-on-year increase of 21.75%, compared with the total headcount in 2017 (8,195,566) and thus increase its annual passenger count by almost 2 million, according to an official press release from the company.
VivaAerobus registered an annual passenger increase of no less than 21.75% in 2018, the largest increase among the top Mexican airlines
In the domestic niche, VivaAerobus transported 9,112,462** passengers whilst in the international arena the company transported 295,229** cross-border passengers. No doubt the company’s launch of 20 new routes throughout 2018 positively impacted the company’s passenger numbers, it also meant that for the first time in its 12-year history this airline surpassed the 100-route threshold to close the year with a total of 104 routes.
VivaAerobus transported 295,229 passengers in the international niche in 2018, more than tripling its 2017 figure of 86,145
As stated above, VivaAerobus started the year well and by June of 2019, VivaAerobus announced it had surpassed the 1-million-passenger threshold for one month, the total figure being 1,040,000 passengers, up 27% over the same period in 2018 and registered a 91% occupation factor for the month, according to the official press release from the company. The month of July also saw this ULCC register over a million passengers so if the trend continues maybe this carrier will close 2019 with over 12 million passengers transported. Time will tell.
In June 2019, VivaAerobus registered over a million passengers in one month for the first time, the exact figure being 1,040,000
**Passenger statistics source:
Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil (DGAC – General Directorate of Civil Aviation)
VivaAerobus Bases / Hubs
Terminal C of Monterrey (MTY) International Airport – in the state of Nuevo León
The Cancun International Airport – in the state of Quintana Roo
The Guadalajara International Airport – in the state of Jalisco
The Mexico City International Airport – in the Mexican capital
The Tijuana International Airport – in the state of Baja California
The Culiacan International Airport – in the state of Sinaloa
In 2016, VivaAerobus opened its 5th hub, this time in Tijuana, initially basing 2 aircraft at the airport
VivaAerobus Fleet: Average Age: 4.4 yrs. with 30 aircraft @ June. 2019
The above average fleet age (and number) was released by Mexico’s DGAC (General Directorate of Civil Aviation).
20 x Airbus A320-200*
15 x Airbus A320 neo* (new engine option)
*Planespotters.net provided the above VivaAerobus fleet data (consulted on August 6, 2019), to see more details of VivaAerobus’ fleet, visit this external link to Planespotters.net
Since 2010, when the VivaAerobus’ fleet had an average age of 23.2 yrs., the company more than halved its fleet age with the incorporation of its Airbus A320 aircraft, 7 leased and the rest acquired. At the close of 2015, the average aircraft age was down to 9.7 yrs. and, since the third quarter of 2017, the fleet has been made up wholly of Airbus aircraft and nowadays -June 2019- the company operates the youngest fleet in Mexico, with an average age of 4.4 years.
The delivery of VivaAerobus’ 2013 order for 52 Airbus aircraft should be completed by 2021
VivaAerobus’ On Board Magazine:
VivaAerobus Destinations – Nov. 2019
VivaAerobus Destinations in Mexico:
NOTE: Only the carrier’s scheduled destinations are included in this section.
In Dec. 2017., VivaAerobus launched its first international services from MEX, to Las Vegas
Towards the end of 2017, VivaAerobus upped both its domestic and international route options, here is quick summary. In the domestic niche: Tijuana-Culiacán (Nov. 1) / Tijuana-León (Dec. 7) / Monterrey-Querétaro (Dec. 15) / Monterrey-Huatulco (Dec. 18), and on the cross-border services: Guadalajara-Los Angeles (Dec. 14) / Mexico City-Las Vegas (with daily services) and Culiacán-Chihuahua (Dec. 15).
VivaAerobus upped its domestic offering from Morelia in Dec. 2017, adding flights to Mexicali
Then this ULCC began to expand at its Cancun (CUN) hub with an international connection to San José (SJO – Costa Rica), on Dec. 1, 2017., with two weekly flights on a seasonal basis. Since the start of 2018, VivaAerobus has increased the domestic options out of its Cancun hub by adding a weekly connection between Chihuahua (CUU) and Cancun as of Mar. 27., followed by Torreón-Cancun, with twice weekly flights -Tues. & Sat’s- as of June 2. And, on June 4, 2018., the company connected Merida (MID) with Tuxtla Gutierrez (TGZ), with flights on Mondays and Thursdays.
Cancun (CUN) has seen two new gateways added in 2018: Chihuahua (CUU) & Torreon (TRC)
On May 16 this year the carrier united Monterrey (MTY) with Queretaro (QRO) with 4 weekly flights: Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; for the future, VivaAerobus will connect Monterrey (MTY) with Durango (DUR) -twice weekly- as of Oct. 3, and has announced its second international option out of Mexico City (MEX), this time to the JFK International Airport of New York, with daily services as of Oct. 18, 2018. The following day is the launch date for the new Toluca (TLC) – Cancun (CUN) services, Oct 19, 2018.
Cancun’s 3rd domestic offering from VivaAerobus was Toluca (TLC) on Oct. 19, 2018
On Oct. 26, this carrier will add services between Morelia (MLM) and Tijuana (TIJ), thus upping its Tijuana hub offering to 6 domestic destinations and joining Culiacán (CUL), Guadalajara (GDL), Guanajuato (BJX – Leon Del Bajio), Mexico City and Monterrey (MTY). The other destination adding services is Puebla (PBC), which will be connected to Guadalajara (GDL) with 3 weekly flights (Mon., Wed., and Friday), as well as the seasonal offering between PBC and Puerto Vallarta (PVR), which was launched at the start of July with twice weekly services, on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
This LCC launched 3 weekly flights from New York (JFK) to Mexico City as of Oct. 3, 2018
VivaAerobus Destinations in North America:
USA: CHICAGO (ORD – as of Dec. 7, 2019) – HOUSTON (HOU) – LAS VEGAS (LAS) – LOS ANGELES (LAX) – NEWARK (EWR) – NEW YORK (JFK)
On Dec. 16, 2017., VivaAerobus launched daily services uniting LAX with Guadalajara (GDL)
The Chicago / Newark routes are charter services connecting the two US cities with Cancun
VivaAerobus withdrew all but one of its international services in 2015: Monterrey to Houston
VivaAerobus Contact Information
VivaAerobus Contact Address:
Monterrey International Airport, Terminal C
Carretera Miguel Alemán Km. 24,
Apodaca, Nuevo León,
From the United States: 1-(888)-9359 – 848
Monterrey HQ: 01-(81)-8215-0150