This is an excerpt of the 2016 edition of Mexico Aviation & Aerospace Review. If you want to get all the information, plus other relevant insights regarding the Mexican aerospace industry, request a copy of Mexico Aviation & Aerospace Review here.
Exclusive interview with José Garza, CEO of Interjet.
Q: As a relatively young airline, what strategy did Interjet employ to become one of the largest in Mexico?
A: For many businesses, including ours, going against the flow of the sector is actually a good market strategy. Interjet’s goal was take the opposite path from other airlines and transform the aviation industry. This led to the creation of Interjet’s hybrid model, which has been part of our DNA since the beginning. Many airlines are sacrificing customer service for profit. We maintain high-quality standards alongside affordable prices. This strategy allows frequent travelers to compare our services against those of other airlines and, more often than not, they return to Interjet.
We also implemented changes to improve overall passenger experience. For instance, we decided to remove first class and replace it with benefits for every single passenger on board in terms of comfort, space and luggage. These changes have been well received by passengers, from executives to families. Interjet’s goal is to provide the most pleasant experience possible, adapting to changes in air travel. This is evident in our renovation of areas such as commercialization and product presentation. We wanted to create a product that suited the vast majority of potential customers across every socioeconomic sector. This has led us to generate a broad range of services that exclude superfluous luxuries.
Q: What main changes have you perceived in the Mexican aviation sector?
A: When Interjet started, the local aviation market was immature, a trend that continues to this day because aviation companies have not fully penetrated the Mexican market. In 2005, Mexican airlines transported well over 20 million passengers. That same year, 2.5-3 percent of the population traveled by air but we are now much closer to 20 percent. This is the result of higher purchasing power and lower ticket fares. Mexico is far from reaching its full potential and we expect this percentage to continue rising. In comparison, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Peru have a much higher rate of flights per capita.
Q: What are the major trends in the aviation market and how is Interjet adapting its strategy to address those?
A: Mexico has interesting demographics, which result in unusual market trends. The country has a very young population, with more than half its citizens under 25 years old. This population segment’s behavior is drastically different to that of other generations. For instance, millennials do not get married and join incomes as early and they are more likely to wait to have a family, they have more spending money that can be used for travel. The country also has a growing number of people over 65 who are retired and keen to travel. These individuals enjoy advantageous fares because they can travel outside of peak summer and winter periods. A common problem during vacation periods is that airplanes travel to tourist locations at full capacity only to return empty. To address this, we offer better prices to returning passengers and retirees often have no problem taking advantage of these less popular dates.