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Mexico's López Obrador wants foreign airlines to operate domestic flights

“Let’s open it up to competition. That’s democracy," Mexico's president said.
Travelers wait in line at Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City on Jan. 10, 2022.
Travelers wait in line at Benito Juárez International Airport in Mexico City on Jan. 10.Jeoffrey Guillemard / Bloomberg via Getty Images file
/ Source: Associated Press

MEXICO CITY — Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Tuesday he wants to allow foreign airlines to operate domestic service between Mexican cities, to drive down prices.

Mexican law currently prohibits foreign carriers from operating purely domestic flights. For example, a U.S. airline can currently fly from New York to Cancún, but not Cancún to Mexico City. Known as “cabotage,” the president wants to allow the practice to lower ticket prices.

“The other thing is to open up aviation,” López Obrador. “Let’s open it up to competition. That’s democracy.”

“Let foreign airlines come in, from Europe and the United States, so that they can operate flights inside the country,” he said.

The proposal would fly in the face of López Obrador’s push to make Mexico self-sufficient. But the president allows wants to lower domestic airfares, and bring service to smaller cities that lack flights.

The president is also eager to get more airlines to fly into the new airport he ordered built at a former air force base just north of Mexico City; that terminal is currently under-used.