Troubled Mexicana airline suspends ticket sales

Troubled Mexicana de Aviacion, Mexico’s largest air carrier, indefinitely suspended ticket sales Wednesday but said it would continue operating flights for travelers who already bought them.

The decision did not affect the company’s Click and Link airlines, which fly routes only inside Mexico. Mexicana flies to more than 65 domestic and international destinations, saying it carried 11.1 million passengers in 2009.

Mexicana filed for bankruptcy protection in Mexico and the United States on Monday seeking to restructure its costs and assure the viability of the company.

Its CEO, Manuel Borja, told reporters on Monday that Mexicana owes Mexican banks at least 2.5 billion pesos (US$199 million). He didn’t say what the company’s total debt is.

A press release from Compania Mexicana de Aviacion said Wednesday’s sales suspension was intended to give “more space” for negotiations with its unions, which earlier rejected the company’s demand for steep pay cuts and layoffs.

“CMA has continued to operate normally, carrying an average of 22,000 passengers daily during the last week,” the statement said.

Spokesman Armando Vera stressed that the airline would continue providing flights for ticket holders.

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