Grounded Mexican Airline Set to Resume Flying

Mexico's Aerocalifornia on Monday said it would resume flying five of its 29 planes after government officials agreed to lift an April decree grounding the airline for safety reasons.

The carrier did not say exactly when it would resume flights. Transportation Department officials suspended its operations on April 2 after a two-week review revealed that the airline was cannibalizing parts from decommissioned planes, among other safety concerns.

A subsequent analysis found that problems had been corrected on five planes, but that work needed to be done before the rest of Aerocalifornia's fleet could be allowed to fly, the department said.

The department issued a statement that aviation authorities were closely watching the airline "to ensure that the carrier meets all established safety measures."

Before its grounding, Aerocalifornia had offered flights to 22 Mexican cities and Los Angeles. It is based in the western city of La Paz, 770 miles (1,230 kilometers) northwest of Mexico City.

It maintained it never violated safety standards and President Vicente Fox asked aviation officials to expedite their review process so Aerocalifornia could resume service soon.

Aerocalifornia is one of several low-cost airlines to emerge in recent years, offering passengers cheaper alternatives to the country's dominant Aeromexico and Mexicana carriers.

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