The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, April 07, 2009 6:10 pm

Aeromexico adding service to New Orleans

The Associated Press
AeroMexico is returning international flight service to New Orleans for the first time since Hurricane Katrina.

Beginning July 6, the airline will offer one direct, nonstop flight, Monday through Saturday, to Mexico City that will continue on to San Pedro Sula, Honduras. AeroMexico will use 50-seat regional jets for the two-hour flight to Mexico City.

During a news conference Tuesday, Mayor Ray Nagin said the flight will be a boost to both tourism and business and provide for easier travel for regional residents who have family ties with Mexico and Honduras.

The flight was established following about a year of negotiations with AeroMexico. Company vice president Frank Galan said that to be successful, the flights will have to average about 33 passengers.

Galan said the airline and the city are currently talking about another direct flight that would provide service to Cancun, Mexico.

Nagin said the city had entered into a risk-share agreement with the airline that is based upon the number of passengers. The city could lose up to $250,000 if the flight fails. Ochsner Health System also made a "financial contribution" to establish the flight, the mayor said.

About 4,000 international patients and physicians come to Ochsner annually, mostly from Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela, said Dr. Ana Hands, the system's director of international health services.

Prior to Hurricane Katrina, air service was available from Louis Armstrong New Orleans International to Honduras through TACA Airlines and to Toronto on Air Canada.

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