For part 1 in this series see:
Mexicana hadn't been ignoring its fleet replacement programme and had settled on the new Airbus A320 as its 727 replacement. An order for 22 of the type was placed with the first four aircraft leased from Dublin based ORIX Aircraft Corp. Airbus setup a Mexibus company to lease the rest direct to Mexicana. The first new A320s arrived in the last months of 1991 and of course also wore the new special livery patterns. The aircraft were flown to Mexico City from Toulouse with white tails and then had the special schemes applied by the airline's staff.
This was still during the period of individual designs so several of the A320s were the first to wear scheme variants. In fact the majority of the fleet was repainted into the new colours aside from a selection of 727-200s mainly those that were released during the period.
Below: 727 livery applications:
For the time being the application of new colours to the fleet continued however during early 1993 it was decided to limit which liveries would be applied. The three survivors would be the yellow 'Talavera', pink 'Mitla' and green 'Huichol' schemes. New aircraft were painted into only these three variants and so the last 6 A320s received carried one of these schemes as did all the new Fokker 100s.
The airline had ordered ten of the Dutch Fokker 100 twinjets back when it still was making money and the first of them arrived in November 1992. All ten were leased from Guinness Peat Aviation. Another pair would be taken on in 1998, well after the end of the special scheme era, and the 12 would see long careers in Mexico with Mexicana, then its rebranded AeroCaribe subsidiary Click (later MexicanaClick).
Unfortunately financially things continued to get worse for Mexicana. As well as the intense competition the Mexican economy nosedived and the Mexican currency the Peso was devalued in 1994 causing an economic crash. This was especially bad for airlines paying foreign lessors in US dollars they could no longer really afford. All of Mexicana's A320s and F100s were leased this way. Indeed several A320s were never taken up and of the 16 aircraft in the fleet at the beginning of 1994 6 had to be returned to ORIX and ILFC (although two extra aircraft joined from other sources).
It was also decided that the retirement of the DC-10s should be hastened and all were withdrawn by the end of 1995. Only three of them ever wore the full new colours.
The failing financial situation of the carrier also further impacted the livery. In October 1st 1993 N1279E, the first aircraft to wear the new scheme and still adorned with the Olinala colours, was repainted into the green Huichol scheme. In November another 727, N552NA, lost its Talavera scheme also in favour of Huichol. The airline had decided to consolidate on only one of the three main livery variants and chosen the rather conservative green Huichol scheme.
Several other 727s were repainted into Huichol also before the scheme was rationalized even further. Now the livery consisted of a grey belly, completely white fuselage with the Huichol colours only on the tail. It was the end of the special livery era, although it took a few years for all the aircraft to be standardized.
In August 1995 Fernando Flores was appointed as the new CEO. He had been with Mexicana for his entire career and understood the airline. He established a 100 day plan with special objectives for days and weeks to be hit. He re-energized the battered airline and the success of his plan enabled him in March 1996 to negotiate with the airline's debtors and recapitalize. Leases for eleven of the Mexibus A320s were renegotiated and the aircraft leased back, now with F registrations. That spring the banks setup the new CINTRA S.A. group which took over both Aeromexico and Mexicana.
The creation of the CINTRA group nicely bookends this period in Mexicana's history and signaled a new phase. In June 1996 the airline was able to celebrate its 75th anniversary, which was some achievement considering the travails it had just been through. Nonetheless the wonderful special liveries were a design highpoint for the airline - mirrored later by British Airways with its Utopia World Tails.
Next we'll take a detailed look at all the different Mexicana livery variants.
Jones, G.P. Mexicana Celebrates 75 Years. Airliners No 41
Mexicana, Airplane No 168
Gomez Rojas, A. Spotters Magazine #4 Aviation Photography and Spotting
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: