I have been informed that effective immediately, the Aeromexico flights between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Puerto Peñasco (PPE) have been suspended indefinitely. My sources confirmed that the flights typically were carrying no more than five passengers per trip (out of 33 total seats available) and were sometimes cancelled because of no bookings. This led Aeromexico to decide to suspend these flights at this time. No word on whether they will resume in the future.
To add some background, the local developers group (ADITURPP) and Aeromexico worked together to put together and subsidize these flights to L.A. It was determined that targeting Los Angeles for these initial commercial flights into the U.S. would open up a new market to Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Point). Phoenix was not considered for a route because it already supplies many of the tourists to Puerto Peñasco and is within an easily driveable distance.
Looking back on this decision, it seems to be well-intentioned, but poorly executed. Much of the promotional efforts for the Puerto Peñasco flights in Los Angeles did not swing into full gear until well after the flights had already started. The flights also began during the traditionally slower seasons instead of beginning in March (Rule of thumb: every Puerto Peñasco business should have its grand opening in February or March). It has proven difficult to coax a population of people - who already have beaches and an ocean - to a relatively unknown Mexican vacation spot without a sustained advance promotional effort - particularly when for about the same price, Angelenos can fly to Cabo, a much more developed vacation destination that is more familiar to Californians. Hopefully in the near future, as Puerto Peñasco progresses, commercial flights from locations like Los Angeles will become more viable and in demand.
In the meantime, I am hoping that Aeromexico or another carrier will recognize the potential for flights between Phoenix and Puerto Peñasco. The continuing Aeromexico flights between Hermosillo (HMO) and Puerto Peñasco have been relatively successful because of the high volume of traffic and trade between the two cities. Similarly, Phoenix and Puerto Peñasco are closely linked. I think a commercial flight between the two cities would prove successful as there is a growing vacationing population in Phoenix that owns a condominium in Puerto Peñasco but would prefer not to drive or deal with potentially slow border crossings. There is also a significant population of business travelers who I think would utilize this route (similar to the HMO-PPE route that carries many business travelers).
While the suspension of the LAX-PPE flight is a small setback for Puerto Peñasco, I think it is temporary and can be chalked up more to the town getting a year or two ahead of itself and to well-intentioned, but poorly executed planning. In the immediate future, Puerto Peñasco will continue to cater to its bread and butter base - tourists who drive - and eventually commercial flights will be phased into the equation as the new Puerto Peñasco international airport opens. Rocky Point is Puerto Penasco.