Mexico Grounds Azteca Due to Safety Issues

The Mexican government suspended operations of Lineas Aereas Azteca on noon (1800 GMT) Monday because the budget airline failed to comply with administrative and technical procedures.

At a news conference, Communications and Transport Minister Luiz Tellez said inspections carried out on March 5-23 turned up problems in safety procedures and obligatory training for pilots, technicians and maintenance personnel.

All the airlines' flight were canceled; those who had purchased tickets were to be reimbursed. He said the airline has 90 days to correct the problems.

Tellez said the Azteca fleet includes nine planes, of which only four were in operation. During the first two months of this year, the airline transported 113,592 passengers, or 2.3 percent of the country's total passengers.

Routes operated by Azteca are covered by 13 other airlines.

The privately owned Mexican carrier was founded in 2001.

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