Latin American airlines CEOs say it will be difficult to operate in the Santa Lucia airport

During the largest forum of the airline industry in the region, the CEOs of Aeromexico, Copa, Avianca and LATAM considered it unfeasible to operate in three different airports in Mexico City.

The forum took place in Brasilia, Brazil, where talks were held on relation to future operations at three different airports in Mexico City, the CEOs of four of the largest airlines in Latin America were emphatic: “it will be very difficult, since it would mean sacrificing one of their greatest assets: connectivity“.

During the ALTA Airline Leaders Forum, the largest forum of the airline industry in the region, one of the first questions was for Andrés Conesa, CEO of Aeromexico, about the viability of the airport project in Saint Lucia, with a position that did not yield to what the company has said on previous occasions.

“Aeromexico – like many other arilines here – has a network model. We need to operate in a single airport. It makes no sense to operate in two different airports, that close to each other, within the same destination: changing passengers, jumping 15 kilometers and segmenting operations raises costs. For a low-cost airline it might make sense to have your base at another airport, but for us it is key and fundamental to operate in a hub that is competitive with other connection centers around the world, such as Miami, Dallas, Panama, or Bogotá. ”

Pedro Heilbron, CEO of Copa Airlines, agreed with Conesa’s stance. “We will not operate in three airports, but in one, and it will be in the same one as Aeromexico, because the connectivity and inter-airline relationships are vital. Not all of our passengers have Mexico City as their final destination, they go to other cities, large and small, and it is absurd to make them land in one airport, and then make them travel by land to another airport for their connection.”

Heilbron explained that the airport that has the greatest facilities in terms of connectivity and costs will result in increased traffic to its airlines and their partners. “If you are alone you can ignore these things, but it is not reality.”

Meanwhile, Felipe de Oliveira, executive director and CEO of the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA), considered that Mexico is at risk of losing competitiveness in terms of connectivity compared to other regions, coupled with the security of interconnecting the Santa Lucía airport with the current International Airport of Mexico City and the Toluca International Airport.

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