Less than a year after entering the Tucson market, Mexican airline Aeromar abruptly announced on Monday the cancellation of service to Mexico.
Flights between Tucson and Hermosillo began in October four times a week; Aeromar added a fifth day in May.
But opportunities to pick up regional routes in Mexico led the airline away.
“The Tucson Airport Authority is disappointed but understands Aeromar’s decision to refocus its resources on flights serving niche routes within Mexico,” said TAA spokesman David Hatfield. “Despite the airline’s decision to end Tucson service effective August 1, the flights provided valuable new data to show sufficient demand for air service into Mexico.”
Representatives from the airline did not respond to requests for an interview.
Airport officials are working with Visit Tucson to find new service between Tucson and Mexico, as the southbound flights were well-used.
“The good news is that the Aeromar flights, which operated from October 3, 2016, to July 31, 2017, verified there is demand,” Hatfield said.
Even before the announcement, other airlines were in talks with the Tucson airport, he said.
Aeromar had been using a 46-passenger ATR-42 turboprop between Tucson and Hermosillo, the capital of Sonora.
News accounts in Mexico show that Aeromar has benefited from the bigger airlines’ decision to drop some short, regional flights and concentrate on big cities.
That gave smaller airlines the ability to pick up already established routes within the country, reports say.
The Tucson airport, meanwhile, has long tried to add flights to Mexico in order to accommodate both tourists and the cross-border business community.
Aeromar was the first to bring commercial, international service to the Tucson airport since the 2008 departure of Aeromexico. Charter and private planes still use the Tucson airport executive tower for international travel.
Consumers who have already bought tickets for future flights can contact the Consumer Affairs division of the U.S. Department of Transportation if they encounter problems in getting a refund.