New nonstop flights to Mexico are a big deal for Philly immigrants

Tickets go on sale today for American Airlines’ new PHL→MEX route.

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Plane: Lass Fuss / Wikimedia Commons; Billy Penn illustration
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Clarification appended

There’s finally a way to fly nonstop from Philly to Mexico City — a change that will make a monumental difference in the lives of Mexican immigrants living here.

American Airlines and Philadelphia International Airport announced the new route last week. The once-daily service, which begins July 5, will leave PHL at 6:30 p.m, arriving in at Benito Juárez International Airport at 10:15 p.m. local time. The reverse flights leave MEX just after 9 a.m. and arrive stateside at 3 p.m.

Tickets go on sale today, March 12, with prices currently hovering between $400 and $550, round trip.

This is the first nonstop flight between the two cities. Previously, the only nonstop flight available to Mexico from Philadelphia went to Cancún.

Being able to fly straight to Mexico’s thriving capital — as opposed to a resort known as a choice hotspot for rowdy college spring breakers — is especially significant for Philly’s fast-growing Mexican community.

According to the Mexican Consulate here, an estimated 200,000 Mexican immigrants live in the region served by PHL. Most have settled in Allentown, West Chester, Lancaster, Hazleton, Reading, Lebanon, Norristown and North and South Philadelphia. Around 50,000 Mexico natives are thought to live in Philly proper.

Immigration can be lonely and isolating without the presence of the family members and friends who, for whatever reason, had to or chose to stay behind. A connecting flight between Philadelphia and Mexico City presents a much simpler way to stay in touch with loved ones back home.

Others, including immigrants, have work contacts in both countries, and the new nonstop service is expected to have a $57 million economic impact on the Philly region, per a statement from PHL.