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Hoping to fly again, jobless flight attendants launch racy calendar in Mexico

November 26, 2010 | 12:19 pm

Flight attendants mexicana calendar ap

A group of unemployed flight attendants from the defunct Mexicana airline found a novel way to keep travelers' eyes on their case to fly again: a sexy calendar.

The publicity stunt -- in a country where racy calendars adorn untold numbers of workshops and garages -- is meant to drive up interest in getting Mexicana in the air again. The company suspended operations in August after a rapid financial meltdown.

The 2011 calendar features photos of 10 former Mexicana flight attendants in bikinis and aviator sunglasses, posing suggestively before jets or inside a cockpit.

The sexiness aside (for just a moment), the group's calendar is a study in ingenuity. A flight attendant named Coral Perez came up with the idea, telling the Associated Press, "We all needed the money." Perez and her former workmates pitched in their own savings for the calendar's production costs and designed their own outfits.

"We want to show that we have a desire to work, that we're united," said flight attendant Gina Itzel, in this video report in Spanish.

The calendar's launch sparked a media frenzy in Mexico City this week. The first print-run of 1,000 sold out completely before its Thursday launch party, prompting the flight attendants to announce plans for a second printing of 3,000. Here's the calendar's Facebook page.

Mexicana is the first airline in Mexico and one of the oldest aviation companies in the industry. It began suffering financially with the arrival of new and less expensive competitors and the tightening travel market overall.

Its shareholders argued that Mexicana could no longer support its employee's salaries and benefits and filed for bankruptcy in August. The airline's pilot and flight attendant unions staged large protests inside Mexico City's Benito Juarez International Airport and outside Mexicana's skyscraper headquarters.

On Monday, the unions announced they had accepted the new owners' restructuring plans, another step toward a potential relaunch. The plan, however, would imply a drastic reduction in the Mexicana workforce. Only 30% of employees would be rehired.

-- Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City

Photo: Former Mexicana flight attendants pose on a Mexico City rooftop. Credit: Associated Press