Mexico Drug Violence A Boon For Airlines
February 28, 2012

SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Rampant violence in Northern Mexico has created a new market for that country’s discount airlines.

Next month, Aeromar will begin flights between San Antonio and Saltillo, an industrial hub in northern Mexico that’s also the capital of the Mexican state of Coahuila. The move makes it three Mexican airlines in recent months that started service to the United States — all specifically targeting San Antonio.

“We are really starting to become a gateway to Mexico,” said Rich Johnson, spokesman for San Antonio International Airport.

The Alamo City has always been a popular destination for Mexican tourists. But many no longer want to drive popular highways controlled by dangerous drug cartels.

Photo courtesy San Antonio International Airport.
An aerial view of San Antonio International Airport in 2011.

So some have opted for a safer option: the sky.

“Many of these cities, such as Monterrey and Toluca, they might have been drive markets before, even Mexico City from what I hear,” Johnson said. “But now with the security concerns, people do want to fly more.”

Aeromar now joins Interjet and Aerobus, with roundtrip tickets starting at around $300.

And Southwest may be the first U.S. airline to also get in on the act. It will soon offer flights from San Antonio to Mexico City and Cancún.