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Mexicana Employees Prevent Repossession of Aircraft

By: David Real | Real Acapulco News - 28 October, 2010

(Mexico City, JG 28 October) Workers for the recently-grounded Mexicana de Aviación yesterday prevented 14 aircraft from leaving the airport in Mexico City. The leased airplanes had been in the airline's fleet, but since Mexicana was many millions of dollars in arrears on their lease payments, the owners had arrived to repossess the aircraft. The owner of the 14 planes is GECAS (GE Capital Aviation Services Ltd.), which owns many of the Boeing and Airbus aircraft in operation throughout Latin America. According to employees, trucks from the Mexico City International Airport’s ground operations (DGAC) patrolled back and forth in front of the 14 airplanes, which were to be picked up and eventually flown out of Mexico. At 10:00 am, when most of the shift takes a lunch break, two truckloads of Federal Police, armed and equipped with riot shields, entered the tarmac and headed for the aircraft. At that moment, the employees decided to block access to the field, so that the aircraft could not be taken away. One worker reported, “Last Wednesday they came as well. They drove their trucks up to the platforms to tow the airplanes away. But now more police have arrived. We made a barrier with ropes and stairways. They could not pass, but they formed ranks and beat their shields with their nightsticks as if going into battle.” For around an hour and a half the police confronted the workers. About a dozen mechanics were wounded, none seriously. Later attorneys for GECAS and Mexicana arrived. After they appraised the situation, they decided to leave the airport, followed by some elements of the Federal Police.


The workers say that 54 Mexicana aircraft are in the hangars at the Mexico City International Airport and that another 14 are in Guadalajara. What the workers do not understand is that if lessors do not have free access to their aircraft, they will no longer lease airplanes to any Mexican airline. International insurance facilities will no longer insure aircraft in Mexico because of the high country risk. Mexico will be relegated to the same class as the failed states in Africa where the rule of law is equally disrespected. With an average second-hand price of about $50 million for narrow-bodies and $100 million wide bodies, no Mexican-flag transportation company will be able to stay in the air. So much for the wisdom of "protecting" jobs by disobeying the law.