Mexico’s Volaris is pressing on with an aggressive growth strategy that relies on converting bus passengers into air travelers with low base fares, fueling its expansion with high utilization rates to keep costs down.
The ultra-LCC grew system capacity 22% last quarter, with a roughly even split between domestic—which is about 70% of its total capacity—and international expansion rates. The growth came via the addition of eight aircraft since 2018’s second quarter, as well as continued high utilization rates of about 13.1 hours per day. The airline ended the second quarter with an all-Airbus fleet of 78 aircraft—eight A319s, 41 A320ceos, 14 A320neos, 10 A321ceos and 5 A321neos, Aviation Week’s Fleet Discovery database shows.
Growth in the third quarter will be only slightly less aggressive—in the “high teens” systemwide, EVP-airline commercial and operations Holger Blankenstein said.
“What we’re doing is healthy capacity addition,” he said. “We’re increasing the utilization. We’re using our existing assets more effectively.”
The focus on smart growth has helped Volaris keep costs down. Its CASM-ex of 3.9 cents last quarter was down 4.6% year-over-year.
Quarterly traffic as measured by revenue passenger miles was up 24%, outpacing the large capacity jump.