Mexico airline Mexicana to halt all flights

Mexicana check in
Image caption Before the suspension of routes, the carrier flew to 65 destinations

One of Mexico's biggest airlines, Mexicana de Aviacion, is to suspend all flights, three weeks after filing for bankruptcy protection.

Transport Minister Juan Molinar said the airline's operations would "definitively cease" by noon on Saturday local time (1700 GMT).

The action will also apply to two budget carriers affiliated with Mexicana - Link and Click.

Mexicana had already axed some of its routes and had stopped selling tickets.

The airline flew 220 routes to 65 destinations including London, Madrid, Montreal, Chicago and cities in Central and South America.

Flu impact

The 89-year-old airline has debts of about $800m (£500m).

It filed for bankruptcy protection after failing to reach a deal with trade unions on cost-cutting.

Plans to sack about 1,000 flight attendants to enable a takeover by a Mexican investment group were blocked by the government earlier this week.

The firm suffered heavy losses during Mexico's recession in 2009, as well during an outbreak of swine flu the same year.

The flu outbreak caused a sharp fall in tourism in the country.

After filing for bankruptcy protection Mexicana proposed deep pay cuts for pilots and crew, as well as a 40% reduction in the workforce.

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