Mexico’s new state-owned airline, Mexicana, has been sued for more than $840m by the US company it hired to help with a variety of services as part of launching the company. 

SAT Aero Holdings filed a complaint with the US District Court in New York claiming that the Mexican Government’s enterprise had breached their contract and has undermined the process of beginning operations for the airline. 

The company was hired to procure aircraft and insurance, recruit pilots and crew, and arrange maintenance for the airline’s fleet of aircraft, but claimed that it was hampered from doing much of its work by the actions of the Mexican government. 

In the filings, SAT listed issues such as the government’s alleged refusal to sign financing and leasing documents with the banks and lessors that SAT had negotiated with, and its failure to obtain necessary licenses needed to operate planes. 

It said: “SAT has endeavoured to work with the Mexican Ministry of Defence to resolve these issues. But, instead of remedying these several breaches, Mexicana Airlines has, confoundingly, instead sought to impose financial penalties on SAT and hold it responsible for the failure to deliver any of the aircraft identified.” 

Mexicana was launched in December 2023 after the Mexican Government created a new company, called Aerolínea del Estado Mexicano, to purchase the brands and assets of the original Mexicana de Aviación which had ceased operations in 2010. 

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The new airline began services on 26 December but faced a number of issues after Boeing delayed the delivery of 737-800 aircraft after the airline failed to get an Air Operator Certificate in time for their scheduled delivery. 

The issues led to a reduction in the number of initial destinations serviced by the airline and the government ended up wet leasing a plane from Mexico’s TAR Aerolineas, inheriting aircraft from the Mexican Air Force, and recently signing a contract with Embraer for 10 aircraft to replace the Boeing deal. 

Now, SAT alleged the airline failed to pay more than $5.5m worth of deposits for the leasing of the first two aircraft in its proposed fleet, leading to SAT’s lawsuit looking for the full worth of the contract, $838.5m, and at least $2.4m in costs. 

The Mexican Government and Ministry of Defence have not commented on the lawsuit except to tell some outlets that it did not have any information about the court case. 

However, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said recently the airline would acquire 20 aircraft by October.