Direct Merida-Atlanta flights to be suspended in August

Yucatan officials and international travelers alike are lamenting the planned suspension of a direct air link between Merida and Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

In an interview with Periódico Punto Medio, Yucatan Tourism Secretary Saúl Ancona Salazar said the air route, operated for just eight months by Aeroméxio-Delta Airlines, was an important option for travelers between Merida the rest of the world. Atlanta’s airport, one of the world’s busiest, provided connections to many other U.S. and foreign cities.

However, the suspension of Merida-Atlanta direct flights, planned for August, apparently was due to the route’s failure to meet Aeroméxico/Delta’s occupancy and revenue expectations, Ancona Salazár said in the Punto Medio interview.

While Delta still has an alliance with Aeroméxico, Merida-Atlanta passengers must now travel through Mexico City, adding hours to the trip.

Some passengers who were already booked were informed of the change by email, although one Travelocity customer told a Facebook group that he hasn’t been told about any changes to his October trip. They were either rebooked or told to do so themselves.

Passengers planning to use the route, which was very handy for East Coast travelers, noticed the change online.

Delta and Aeromexico have not issued formal statements about their plans.

American Airlines continues to operate direct flights from Merida to Miami, while United Airlines operates a direct Merida-Houston route.

The Atlanta connection started with high hopes and a ceremony on Dec. 1, 2017. It gave Mérida a direct link to a major U.S. hub. Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport connected Yucatán to airports in 130 cities and 50 countries.

The inaugural Flight 2717 was greeted with a “water salute” as it taxied toward its gate at Mérida’s Manuel Crescencio Rejón International Airport. Yucatan Gov. Rolando Zapata Bello and other officials greeted the first arriving passengers with handshakes.

In May, everything appeared to be going swimmingly with Delta and Aeroméxico celebrating the one-year anniversary of their trans-border Mexico-U.S. airline alliance.

But air connections come and go for travelers in Yucatán. American’s flights to Dallas were dropped in February 2017, and a promised route to Las Vegas, which once looked imminent, has never materialized.

Sources: Punto Medio, Yucatan Expat Life and other reports

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