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Feb 27, 2013

Tropic takes air to Cancun, Mexico

Tropic Air has announced that it will be starting flights to Cancun, Mexico just in time for the Easter break. The first flight is scheduled for March twenty-fifth on Tropic’s twelve-seater caravan. There will be six flights weekly and if you are interested in heading north, you can catch a promotional rate for tickets that the airline is offering. News Five Isani Cayetano asked Tropic’s top executive if it is a risky venture.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Visitors to Cancun, Mexico can once again enjoy the comfort of air travel from neighboring Belize.  The hour-long flight had been offered by a different carrier a few years ago but that venture proved to be unsuccessful.  In keeping with plans to expand its local and regional scope Tropic Air has decided to fly to that destination.


John Greif III

John Greif III, President, Tropic Air

“Tropic has had Cancun on our watch list for a decade; actually we operated flights there in the nineties but the timing was wrong—there was an American recession and it didn’t work out. So we’ve had a close eye on it for over ten years and we just decided that the time is right.”


Isani Cayetano

“Most Belizeans traveling to Cancun think of this commute by road as opposed to flying in an aircraft that lands you directly at the airport in Cancun. In terms of what can be expected with prices and scheduling and what have you, what can be looked forward to?”


John Greif III

“Well we see that as the type of passengers that we’ll be getting. So a family in Belize City that wanted to go to Chicago could fly to Cancun and then get on a cheap flight from Cancun to Chicago. The ride is four, five hours I guess; I’ve actually never done it and the flight will be less than an hour and a half. Initially, the price will be three hundred and nine dollars U.S. roundtrip and to that you will have to add fuel service charge which changes with the price of fuel and of course all the taxes that the government charges you. But we still think, when coupled with the cheap flights onward, we still think it is a reasonable proposition and we are looking forward to getting a lot of that kind of business.”


Flying to Cancun as a scheduled trip was initiated by Maya Island Air Regional in July 2009, but while they had a solid business plan the venture was not lucrative.


John Greif III

“Timing is important. I think they had an excellent idea; I think they did a lot of things right. The one critical thing they did wrong and it’s super important in the aviation industry is the type of equipment, in other words, the aircraft. They were using a seventy-seater. We think that is way, way too big and we think the aircraft that we operate, the caravans in a twelve seat configuration would be perfect. We are not actually going to put as many people on the Cancun flight as we do domestically with fourteen. We are going to have a pilot, a co-pilot and twelve passengers. So people will be able to stretch out a little more.”


Isani Cayetano

“We’re talking about fuel-efficiency based on the size of the aircraft?”


John Greif III

“Correct. Maya, I think, went with the seventy-seater because it is much more fuel efficient when it is full; it is a high speed aircraft with retractable landing gear. So theoretically, had they been able to fill the planes up and offer more than one flights a day, they could have driven the price down. The caravan is not retractable gears, less efficient over long distances and that’s why the price seems a little bit high if you are used to buying tickets on a jet airline.”


Isani Cayetano

“Now Mister Grief for this particular venture, it seems as though you would have to come up with capital for this investment. Is this a sizeable investment in terms of expanding the company’s reach?”


John Greif III

“It is, but you know nothing ventured nothing gained. By the time we project to start making profit on this route, we would have spent two hundred thousand U.S. dollars, but we have to grow. We’ve expanded everywhere we can in Belize. We are going to Cayo, to Belmopan, to Orange Walk; to all these, what for us we would have never thought it would have been profitable routes. But we have expanding into there and we are at least breaking even if not making money. So to grow, we have to go internationally. So that’s why we have refocused on Flores, Petén. We are going daily to San Pedro, Sula Honduras. We’ll soon be going to Roatan and Cancun. We did Cancun next because there is just so much demand for it.”


Isani Cayetano

“Explain the rationale behind flying out of the PGIA as opposed to another hub that is probably closer geographically to Cancun.”


John Greif III

“Good question. We seriously considered operating out of San Pedro. It is from one tourist destination to another, it is closer so it would have knocked twenty or thirty minutes off the flight—put you in the aircraft for an hour instead of significantly over an hour—but there are no connections in San Pedro; there is no full-time customs and immigration here at our terminal building or at the airport for that matter. So we decided initially anyway that we would try it out of the Goldson because it is a better connection for people who might be coming in on other international flights or the need to make international flights when they land in Belize. One of the possibilities is that Belize is just the transit point to go on to Honduras, Guatemala, other areas.”


Tropic Air has been operating in Belize for over thirty years and has built a solid reputation as a Belizean company hiring over two hundred and fifty employees. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.


The airline already flies to Guatemala and Honduras. 

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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5 Responses for “Tropic takes air to Cancun, Mexico”

  1. Gilda says:

    sounds good! would like to have more information as schedule and pricing for this run, plan on taking a trip from Chicago to Cancun in April and would love to stop at the Jewel for a few days….

  2. junito says:

    Ok why would anyone in their right mind Spend $618 BZ dollars to fly to cancun when one can only spend $140.00 BZ on an ADO bus only sacrificing 8 extra hours while having and almost $500.00 BZ dollars to spend at Cancun. Id say this if for business people and tourists not for local travelers i guess. 618 BZ you can add 380 more and fly to Los Angeles from Cancun roundtrip.

  3. X says:

    The price alone can pay fro travel on ADO and your flight to the US

  4. A Jew says:

    Price high indeed, i prefer drive or ADO. Also I dont trust Tropic Air’s flights.

  5. Miguel garcia says:

    The idea is great but I think the price is too much

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