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Mexicana talks with investors, studies bankruptcy

Grupo Mexicana de Aviacion, Mexico’s biggest airline by passengers, is in talks with several international investors as it considers whether to file for bankruptcy, Chief Executive Officer Manuel Borja Chico said.

Mexicana seeks a new labor agreement with its unions to cut costs, and there are no discussions about a merger with Consorcio Aeromexico SA, the carrier’s largest Mexican rival, Borja said Monday in an interview broadcast on Radio Formula in Mexico City.

“We’ve been discussing with several international investors who are willing to participate if we have a viable business plan,” said Borja, who didn’t identify them. “To have a viable business plan, we need to have a competitive new labor agreement.”

Closely held Mexicana, acquired from the government by Grupo Posadas SAB in 2005, faces a “critical” financial situation and is preparing proposals to shareholders to keep the company operating, Adolfo Crespo, a company spokesman, said in an interview July 30.

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Mexicana is discussing financing options with private lenders, Borja said. He declined to offer details during the radio interview.

Lizette Clavel, secretary general of the flight attendants’ union, said last week that Mexicana has proposed laying off 500 attendants, reducing salaries as much as 50 percent and eliminating most non-economic benefits. The airline gave the union, which represents about 1,300 Mexicana attendants, an Aug. 9 deadline to reach the new agreement, Clavel said.

Mexicana flies to more than 65 national and international destinations, including the U.S., Canada, Europe and Latin America. In 2009, Mexicana transported 11.1 million passengers, according to data published on the company’s website.

The airline operates 69 planes under the Mexicana brand and 35 aircraft under MexicanaClick, which it started in 2005. MexicanaLink, unveiled last year, has 15 planes, according to the website. Mexicana also has 165 sales locations.

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Mexicana is part of the Oneworld alliance, sharing reservations and destinations with carriers led by AMR Corp.'s American Airlines and British Airways Plc.


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