A new low-cost airline will begin serving Guatemala

Víctor Pacheco is the founder and currently executive president of the airline Arajet and in an interview with Prensa Libre, he disclosed his expectations.

What are the plans to fly between Guatemala and the Dominican Republic?

The Dominican Republic and Guatemala are brother towns that, incredibly, have not been able to be closer because they have not been able to have a direct route and until today, stopovers are needed that take a long time and above all, you have to pay more than US$1,000 to be able to to travel.

Arajet comes to offer direct flights and cheap tickets on new planes so that trade and tourism begin to become more dynamic or so that entrepreneurs are motivated to explore markets. It seems to me that Dominicans are going to be happy to get to know their country.

How many flights are you going to start with and what occupancy expectations do you have for the first few months?

We are starting with two frequencies a week: Wednesday and Sunday. We are going to promote them and work together with the governments of both countries to be successful from the market point of view and so that the occupancy rate exceeds 80%. If we succeed, we will put a third frequency to continue the expansion. The idea is to have a daily frequency.

What date are you visualizing that possibility?

That will depend on how dynamic the market is with the two flights.

What prices are they going to offer and how strong is the competition as a low-cost line?

I do not see direct competition, since we are the only ones who fly direct. We start with US$145 round trip and can go up to US$198 with taxes included.

What kind of planes will they use?

We are starting with five Boeing 737 of 185 passengers, they are new planes from the factory. A fleet of more than 40 aircraft has been secured. In September, flights to El Salvador and Costa Rica are expected to begin. We are also going to operate to Lima, Peru; Barranquilla and Cartagena in Colombia; and Mexico City, Cancun and Monterrey in Mexico. In addition to Aruba, Curaçao and Saint Martin.

In Guatemala, the inaugural flight will be on September 28, but for now, only with direct flights to the Dominican Republic. We are not yet offering connections.

Víctor Pacheco, CEO of Arajet, reports on plans, expectations and investment. (Photo, Free Press: courtesy Arajet).

How much was invested?

We started with an investment of over US$3 billion to achieve the fleet we have. We are entering the low-cost industry, because it is the industry that is growing globally.

And how do you see the movement of passengers in Guatemala?

The pandemic has brought many opportunities. After having a depressed market, people are tired of staying at home and want to travel. For us, the Guatemalan market is a winning bet because it is a country with strong growth.

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