Aeromexico (IATA designator: AM), one of Mexico's two major airline companies, was founded in 1934, with the help of Pan Am, who owned 40 percent of the new Mexican airline. The airline was initially known as 'Aeronaves De Mexico'.
Aeromexico didn't see a lot of changes for the next two decades, but during the 1950s, renovation began, and they took over various competitor companies, using aircraft like the legendary Douglas DC-3 and its successor, the DC-4.
Aeromexico started changing its piston-engined planes for the new jets during the 1960s, joining the worldwide airline industry evolution of that era. The first jet to join "Aeronaves"' fleet was the Douglas DC-8. This enabled the airline to gradually expand its international services.
The 1970s brought dramatic changes for Aeromexico. Routes to Madrid, Rome and Paris were established, and the airline changed its name from "Aeronaves de Mexico" to its current, shortened version of Aeromexico. During this period the airline's popularity and visibility grew dramatically: in part due to Aeromexico's involvement in Mexican movies. Basically, every time a character in any movie produced in Mexico had to fly somewhere, they supposedly flew on Aeromexico.
The 1980s were tough times for Aeromexico. In 1986, Aeromexico suffered its first and only fatal accident outside of Mexico when a DC-9 approaching Los Angeles International Airport was struck by a small Piper aircraft. All 89 passengers on board and crew were killed. The plane crew or the airline were not to blame, as the Piper was being flown by a student who invaded a zone that was prohibited for student and private pilots. The mistake cost more than 90 people their lives.
Every time there is an accident involving an airline company, the public's trust in the airline wanes, and unfortunately this was the case for Aeromexico, and they had to close operations for a little while during 1988.
Its safety record rates a ďA", the highest grade possible, according to Air Rankings Online (see rankings at Airline Rankings). Rankings are cumulatives, based on the number of fatal accidents per million flights that the carrier has flown since 1970.
However, in 1990, with new investors, a new, more powerful airline with a stronger structure, Aeromexico took flight again. Revitalized and reinvigorated, Aeromexico resumed all operations, and and added new routes to Phoenix, Arizona, and all over the western United States, as well as to Lima, Peru, and many other cities across South America. In addition, Aeromexico became Boeing customers, buying Boeing 757s, Boeing 767s, and more recently, the 737-800, which began service in 2003 as announced by the airline.
On December 31st of 2003, Aeromexico flight 490 had to return to its starting point on a flight to the United States, because authorities suspected one of the passengers on board to be a terrorist.