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State-run Mexicana airline to buy 20 planes by October, says Lopez Obrador

FILE PHOTO: Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador presents constitutional reforms, in Mexico City

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's state-owned airline Mexicana will purchase 20 aircraft by October, when President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's term ends, the country's leader told reporters on Tuesday.

The airline, administered by the military, struggled to take flight at the end of last year after it was unable to acquire aircraft. It started operations using three Boeing planes from the military and two Embraer aircraft rented from a regional carrier.

Lopez Obrador did not specify which planemaker or third party the government was looking to acquire the aircraft from.

Officials have previously said they were looking to acquire more Boeing planes for the airline. Boeing and Embraer did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Mexicana, which Lopez Obrador launched by reviving a bankrupt carrier, has been pitched as a cheaper alternative for travelers compared to the nation's largest airlines, with whom the president has frequently clashed in his administration.

However, January flight data from the nation's civil aviation authority shows that Mexicana carried around 1.5% of domestic traffic as the top three airlines did individually.

(Reporting by Raul Cortes and Kylie Madry; Additional reporting by Peter Frontini in Sao Paulo; Editing by Brendan O'Boyle)