Hatfield, UK - Quest Mexicana SA de CV - a new start-up airline based in Cancun, Mexico – has signed leases with BAE Systems Regional Aircraft for four BAe 146-200 regional jetliners. The airline will concentrate its operations primarily in the south-eastern region of Mexico in the Yucatan Peninsula and will operate under the name of Ka’an Beel Air (KBA), which means ‘skywalker’ in the Mayan language. Quest Mexicana is part of the Lomas Travel group of companies founded in 1982, which owns hotel resorts, water and land sports marinas, tour operators and vehicle hire operations. It has a 40 per cent market share of incoming travellers, equivalent to over five million passengers a year and the airline is seen as an important growth tool. The airline’s management team are experienced industry professionals with more than 20 years background in similar or equivalent positions in the airline industry or regulatory authorities.
Mr Eduardo Alfaro, Chief Executive Officer of the new airline said today: “ We are looking forward to giving the south-eastern part of Mexico the much-needed air services that it requires, as well as to provide a further growth opportunity for our parent company and to help develop the travel trade industry in the region.”
Paul Stirling, Senior Vice President Asset Management for Regional Aircraft added: “This lease into Mexico represents a new market for Regional Aircraft’s BAe 146 portfolio and we are very excited about the prospects for Quest Mexicana and wish them well in their new airline operation. This new lease has the potential to be the catalyst for further business in the region and in Latin America generally.”
Delivery of the four aircraft (msns E2130, E2133, E2139 and E2140) will take place between October this year and February 2008, and the aircraft are to be configured in an 85 seat, five-abreast configuration.
Quest’s goal is to satisfy the lack of air transport services between Mexican south-east cities, the Caribbean and Central America with both charter and scheduled flights to serve Lomas’ own captive market.
Initially the airline plans to serve local destinations such as the ‘air bridge’ between Cancun and Cozumel, which used to receive 100,000 passengers a year the last time it was operated. Secondly, scheduled charter routes will be established to serve cruisers and tour operators’ customers with ‘one-day tours’ between Mahahual and Chichenitza and Cozumel and Chichenitza.
Under a second stage of development, international operations will start into Central America and the Caribbean, principally to destinations that share the Mayan culture in the region, who number between them over five million people.
Also planned under a third stage (subject to US FAA licensing) are flights to medium sized cities on the coast of Florida, such as Orlando and Fort Meyers, mainly to satisfy tour operators’ demands. Both of these second and third stages of operation would require additional aircraft.
About BAE Systems
BAE Systems is the premier global defence and aerospace company delivering a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, information technology solutions and customer support services. With 96,000 employees worldwide, BAE Systems’ sales exceeded £15 billion (US $27 billion) in 2006*.
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Source: BAE Systems
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