Mexico City – The government is not going to bail out bankrupt Mexicana de Aviacion mientras as long as "there are groups of investors interested" in acquiring the carrier, which ceased operating last August, Labor Secretary Javier Lozano said.
There is no "possibility whatsoever" that the government will take over the airline, Lozano said.
Mexicana's ground workers staged protests earlier this week at the Mexico City airport and demanded that the government take control of the airline.
Mexican law gives the government the option of taking over the management of strategically important businesses deemed to be in danger of a strike, ensuring the continuation of operations.
The government does not "want to raise false expectations" about the resolution of the airline's problems via an asset seizure or financial bailout, the labor secretary said.
"There exists a possibility of a solution" and the government "has not rested a single day" in working to help the carrier resume operation, Lozano said.
Government officials are not "betting on the company's bankruptcy" to help other airlines, the labor secretary said.
Several investor groups, including Avanza Capital, Ivan Barona, Altus Prot aand TG Group, have expressed an interest in the carrier.
Mexicana, which had been one of Mexico's two leading airlines, stopped operating on Aug. 28 along with sister budget carriers Click and Link due to serious financial problems.
On Sept. 7, a Mexican judge allowed the airline to suspend payment on its debt and left it in the hands of a court-appointed receiver.
The carrier is trying to negotiate a restructuring of its debt of about 20 billion pesos ($1.67 billion), of which a large portion is owed to workers.
In March, Mexicana's sale was cancelled after buyer PC Capital was unable to come up with the funds needed to buy the carrier and subsidiaries Click and Link.
PC Capital failed to pay the money on March 1, the day that the purchase agreement expired, Tenedora K, which took control last August of 95 percent of the stock of holding company Nuevo Grupo Aeronautico, or NGA, which owns Mexicana de Aviacion, Click and Link, said.
PC Capital won the bidding for the bankrupt carrier in November, offering to pay $200 million for Mexicana's assets and to restructure operations.
Mexicana de Aviacion, which had planned to resume flying before March, had received its operating and security licenses after conducting test flights mandated by regulators.
Mexicana had been acquired in late 2005 by hotel operator Grupo Posadas.