Aeroméxico (AM, México City Int'l) has joined the ranks of fellow Latin American major airlines Avianca Airlines (AV, Bogotá) and LATAM Airlines (LA, Santiago de Chile Int'l) in filing for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States. The filing, lodged on June 30, also covers wholly-owned subsidiaries Aerolitoral (5D, Monterrey General Mariano Escobedo) and Aeroméxico Cargo (México City Int'l).

"We expect to utilise the Chapter 11 process to strengthen our financial position, obtain new financing and increase our liquidity, and create a sustainable platform to succeed in an uncertain global economy," chief executive Andrés Conesa said.

The Mexican carrier underlined that it would continue operating as going concern with all bookings and frequent flyer points remaining valid. It added that it did not expect any immediate changes to its employment terms and that it would continue to pay wages and benefits. It will also continue to place orders with suppliers and honour existing commercial agreements, including the Joint Cooperation Agreement with Delta Air Lines (DL, Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson). The American carrier owns a 49% stake in Aeroméxico.

The company said it was confident it would be able to secure new financing through the Debtor-in-Possession procedure, which would provide it with sufficient liquidity to continue operations.

In its initial filing with the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, Aeroméxico said that its total liabilities were in the range of USD1-10 billion with more than 100,000 creditors. The five largest secured creditors have been identified as Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas (USD268.8 million claim), Deutsche Bank Mexico (USD235.3 million), Crédit Agricole CIB (USD132.2 million), Natixis Lease (USD126.1 million), and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (USD119 million).

The largest unsecured creditors with claims exceeding USD20 million are Bank of New York Mellon (USD411.4 million), the operator of México City Int'l airport (USD62 million), and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (USD25.7 million).

A day before the Chapter 11 filing, Aeroméxico said in a stock market filing that it had agreed on an amended commercial deal with Aimia Inc., which controls a 49% stake in PLM Premier, the operator of the carrier's frequent flyer programme. Under the terms of the agreement, Aimia will provide a further USD50 million advance to Aeroméxico via PLM through pre-purchases of award tickets.