Mexico City International airport has reached its limit

Rodrigo Vásquez Colmenares, director general of the Federal Civil Aviation Agency, said the capital’s airport has reached its limit.

CUIDAD DE MEXICO (Agencies) – The International Airport of Mexico City (AICM) – the most important in the country by the number of passengers mobilized – will not open new flights or more frequencies on routes, than those already operated by airlines at the airport.

“If international operators come and want to fly in saturated schedules, they will not be able, if they want to put more frequencies on a domestic flight, they will not be able; then, our role is to mark the ‘size of the field’ from the operational point of view. We have all run out,” warned Rodrigo Vásquez Colmenares, director general of the Federal Civil Aviation Agency (AFAC).

During 2019, the Benito Juárez airport received 50,308,490 national and international passengers, a figure which marked the maximum saturation point of the country’s air facilities.

Therefore, the head of civil aviation policy in the country, reported that the airport reached its limit and will begin a ‘rationalization of slots’, takeoff and landing times, which will seek to alleviate the current saturation, to distribute the growth of passengers in other airports, such as Toluca or Guadalajara.

“We are in a condition of real saturation, which is not a condition of the terminal, but of the air, where the growth in the airport is totally blocked and we will implement measures of rationalization of slots, now, the implication that this has will be different for each airline, because each one will have to make its own decisions,” Vasquez explained.

In that sense, the government has the power to intervene in the distribution of operating hours at the AICM and to decide under what conditions an airline will be able to maintain its slots in which it currently operates.

However, the director general of the AFAC said that this is being analyzed in conjunction with the airlines, which will have to look at which airport to concentrate their growth, which, in the airline industry, is between 4 and 5 percent annually, which means that each year the AICM receives 2 million additional passengers.

The Secretary of Communications and Transport, Javier Jiménez Espriú, together with Andrés Manuel López Obrador, have indicated that the objective is to reduce the number of passengers transported at the AICM to 45 million, while improving its facilities.

Vasquez added that, in terms of costs, the airlines are spending up to 16 percent more on fuel because of the wait for take-off from ‘Benito Juarez’ airport.

Therefore, the departure of some flights or the creation of others in alternate airports would allow -especially for low-cost companies such as Viva Aerobus and Volaris- to avoid artificial expenses in order to boost their profit margins.

What are the options?
Vasquez said that for now the only option for airlines in the center of the country is the Toluca International Airport, where airlines will seek to analyze the opening of new routes, this while completing the airport in St. Lucia.

“There are already airlines that have approached Toluca, the real condition is the analysis, the temptation to impose a decision is great, but we believe that will not happen, we as a State have the possibility to make decisions, which we believe convenient from the operational point,” said Vasquez Colmenares.

In recent days, Toluca Airport General Director Luis Bertrand Rubio told El Financiero that, although they would not encourage flights to the airport, by the end of the year they would reach 2 million passengers, an amount which the Mexico city airport will not be able to bear.

Another option for airlines is the Guadalajara airport, which last year handled 14 million 846 thousand passengers and is expected to double its capacity with a second runway and an additional terminal building. This is expected to increase passenger flow by 40 percent in the next five years.

“We want to absorb passengers who are passing through Mexico City today without having anything to do there” said Raul Revuelta, general director of Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico in an interview.

On the other hand, Tijuana is another option that airlines could turn to in view of the restriction by authorities to operate new routes at the Mexico City International Airport.

The general director of Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico said that the goal for the airport located on the northern border of the country is to become a distribution center with Asia, a continent with which Mexico has been virtually isolated, in a direct way, due to the cancellation of the flight of Aeromexico to Shanghai and the temporary suspension, until November, of operations of Hainan Airlines.

The Yucatan Times
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