Less than 3 months after her delivery XAX was destroyed when on January 19, 1961 the aircraft aborted its take-off run from runway 07R at New York Idlewild. All four crew in the cockpit were killed but there were no fatalities amongst the 97 passengers. The aircraft however was written off. The circumstances of the crash itself appears very suspicious. There was a check pilot in the cockpit and it appears that, despite not being in either of the pilot seats, he reached forward and pulled the throttles back for some reason. The weather was poor at the time and there was some snow on the runway also, as well as their being the possibility that the pitot head heating hadn't been turned on, but even so the accident must be put down to human error.
1962 was a better year for the airline, which grew further as the relentless consolidation of the Mexican airline market continued. In February the routes of Trans Mar de Cortes were taken over. Then in August Aerovias Guest was also acquired. This carrier had started a Mexico City-Bermuda-Azores-Lisbon-Madrid route in 1948, which was later extended to Paris. SAS took control of Guest in 1959 but by May 1962 it was looking to get out and Aeronaves acquired nearly 88% of its shares. The airline also successfully expanded its routes naturally, getting permission to fly La Paz-Los Angeles and Mexico City-Tijuana-Los Angeles.
The year ended especially badly when on Christmas Eve XA-NUS was also crashed. This time the aircraft had 10 crew and 99 passengers onboard but once again the airline rode its luck and no passengers were killed. The aircraft was operating another New York - Mexico City sector and crash landed on the dry Texcoco Lake on approach to its homebase.
Fortunately for the airline by the time it lost the latter pair of DC-8s further series 51s had been delivered. XA-PIK arrived in April 1964 whilst luckily XA-SIA and SIB arrived in October 1966. The airline's last new DC-8-51, XA-SID, joined in February 1968 bringing the fleet up to 4 examples. These would be far from the last DC-8s the airline operated and the history of the DC-8 in Mexico from the 1970s onwards will be the content of part 4 of our look at Aeronaves De México.
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: