Aeromar, the airline that suspended its operations in a context of financial difficulties on February 15, represents an episode of bankrupt companies with owners facing proceedings against them for mismanagement, and some of them with Interpol search files. , those characters who are now singled out for keeping their personal finances healthy. But in this scenario of airline bankruptcy history, it is worth asking the question: Is the case of rich businessman, poor company a constant in the country’s airlines?
Perhaps yes, since during the “morning” of February 16, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador indicated that the closure of Aeromar represents a case where the companies go bankrupt, but not the owners, they defend themselves by stating that this is far from the reality. Not long ago, the federal executive expressed his interest in rescuing the airline in a context of a tripartite scheme between businessmen, the Aviation Pilots Union Association of Mexico (ASPA), and the Federal Government. However, this fact was politically linked to the intention of inaugurating a new airline in the face of the Olmeca-Maya-Mexico administrative megaprojects, and later it deflated, collapsed and we see now that this did not happen.
But that’s not all because, when there was a demonstration by Aeromar pilots and flight attendants in October 2022 for non-payment of wages, the current ASPA general secretary, José Humberto Gual Ángeles, pointed out that The owners of the airline maintain a debt of 6 thousand 500 million pesos (mdp), anticipating the serious problems of that airline. After the death of Marcos Katz, who was the original owner of Aeromar, in 2016, his son Zvi Katz took over the company. However, he appointed a manager to manage the company and moved to Israel, where he has resided since the change of business owner, a point to be ruled out among so many bad decisions. The absence of the businessman is related to the performance of Aeromar, which includes precariousness of its workers and a debt of more than 130 million pesos to the Administration Service Tax (SAT).
It should not be forgotten that the Public Broadcasting System of the Mexican State pointed out another painful case of airline businessmen, where it mentioned that the departure from the country of Miguel Alemán Magnani, previous owner of Interjet, also marked a major crisis for that company. It is worth mentioning that the former president, relieved by Alejandro del Valle, was in France when an arrest warrant was issued for tax fraud in 2021.
Interjet suspended its operations in December 2020, due to a financial crisis with a total debt of 549.2 million pesos before its workers, creditors, and the collection body. In September 2022, the SAT announced that the airline owes the authorities 30 million pesos in tax collection. Likewise, Alejandro del Valle has been the subject of media controversy as a result of managing the company, and currently, he is not allowed to leave the country. For its part, the suspension of operations of Compañía Mexicana de Aviación (CMA) in August 2010 left 8,500 workers adrift according to figures reported by UNAM. After a financial crisis with labor liabilities of up to 294 million pesos, the company was declared bankrupt on April 3, 2014, added the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
Faced with the incidents involving Interjet and Aeromar, this case has a weighty administrative precedent, having been part of a state administration during the six-year term of former President Vicente Fox Quesada. In statements during the presidential conference on September 21, 2022, Andrés Manuel López Obrador pointed out that the airline was privatized to benefit the owner of Grupo Posadas. In 2005, the former president sold the airline for 165 million dollars; which, after 5 years, went bankrupt, having in the history of failures Aviacsa, Aerocalifornia, Taesa, Líneas Aéreas Azteca, Alma de México and Avolar.
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In the National Palace there is interest in launching Mexicana de Aviación as soon as possible and promoting the issue of open skies, where the designated beneficiary is Volaris, where Enrique Beltranena’s airline has said that this is false. Regarding aviation policies, which include changes on cabotage and plans to recover Mexicana de Aviación, concerns among union representatives persist. Humberto Gual Ángeles has actively participated as a spokesperson for discontent among workers in the aviation industry, especially due to the closure of 20 companies since 1995. In a context of crisis for workers and companies, the response of owners facing tax proceedings and legal sheds light on the reality and disparity of the industry, and there is in the Official Gazette of the Federation (DOF) the decree of the Law for the Protection of the Mexican Airspace, which establishes that the Secretary of National Defense (Sedena) will monitor and it will protect Mexico’s airspace, which should also serve to prevent businessmen from playing “little planes”.
This sector must be closely monitored because whoever thinks that there will be no more surprises is wrong; because on the road is the Fourth transformation, which is one of the priority projects of this administration.
Editor’s Note: This text belongs to our Opinion section and reflects only the author’s vision, not necessarily the High Level point of view.
Julio Pilotzi Journalist with 20 years of experience in the media. He currently collaborates with ADN 40 of Televisión Azteca. His column Split Financiero has been published in the Finance Section of the newspaper, Capital de México, El Sol de México, currently in Diario 24 Horas and El Economista.