Air Transport World

Latin America/Caribbean.(WORLD AIRLINE REPORT)(briefs)(Grupo Marsans)(Citigroup Mexico)


Grupo Marsans, the Spanish tourism and transport giant, announced in May that it would lower its holding in the Argentine flag carrier from 95% to 35%. Argentina's government will raise its stake from 5% to 20%. Aerolineas Argentinas employees will get 10% and the remaining 35% will go to Juan Carlos Lopez Mena, owner of a high-speed ferry operation in Buenos Aires. The new ownership structure is expected to take effect later this year.

It is unclear how it will affect the airline's fleet expansion. Last year Marsans, which also owns Spain's Air Comet, signed an MOU with Airbus for four A380s, 10 A350-900s, five A330-200s, five A321s, 25 A320s and 12 A319s. It said the aircraft would be distributed between the two airlines, but it was apparent that Aerolineas would get at least some of the A380s and A350s. If so, it would be the first and only A380 operator in South America based on current orders.


After years of uncertainty, Mexico's government last November agreed to sell its 62% stake in Aeromexico to a group of investors led by Banamex, the Mexican arm of Citigroup, for MXN2.7 billion ($249 million) following an intense bidding war. The remaining 32% of the carrier's stock is publicly traded. Back-and-forth bidding by Banamex and the wealthy Sabas family drove up the cost of Mexico's second-largest airline. Competition began last August with the Sabas' offer of about $100 million, well below the eventual sale price.

Banamex appointed Jose Luis Barraza chairman of the carrier. He had been president of business development organization Consejo Coordinador Empresarial and previously was VP-economic development for the state of Chihuahua. "We are going to inject $240 million of fresh capital into the company to start to expand routes, frequencies and [acquire] more planes," he said. Banamex's investment group includes 14 members.

Last month AM launched twice-weekly Mexico City-Shanghai service. International expansion is likely increasingly to be its focus owing to the fact that numerous domestic carriers have started service in recent years. …

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