Image credits: Jerry Zhang, Unsplash
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News Article

AICM Reports 57.2 Percent Drop in Traffic in 2020

By Peter Appleby | Mon, 12/28/2020 - 15:34

Despite rising passenger numbers in recent months, the Mexico City International Airport (AICM) reported 57.2 percent fewer travelers between January and November 2020 compared to the same period last year, underlining the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s aviation and tourism industries.

The figures published for November show that 51.6 percent fewer national travelers and 67.5 percent fewer travelers have touched down from the start of the year to November. The figures for the usually overloaded airport, while dramatic, were not unexpected. In April, during a period of severe movement restrictions across Mexico, airline traffic fell by 85 percent according to IATA. In countries that are important tourism markets for Mexico, including Spain and the UK, airline traffic experienced a year-on-year drop of 95.1 percent and 93.2 percent during the beginning of the pandemic.

September to November saw improving traffic figures for AICM, with year-on-year numbers rising from -60.6 percent in August to -42.2 percent in December for national travelers. International traveler numbers also grew from -85.2 percent in August to -71.2 percent in November.

In Cancun, passenger figures showed similar drop offs. In May, just 41,255 national passengers and only 7,355 international passengers landed in Cancun compared to the 792,854 national and 1,327,014 international passengers seen in 2019. Like AICM, Cancun had seen a recovery in the last few months, yet figures are still far off what would have been expected in January.

Desperately low passenger figures have been a consequence of the worldwide pandemic that has restricted travel nationally and internationally. Mexico’s airlines have suffered with low-cost airline Interjet being suspended from the International Air Transport Association payment system due to non-payment of charges, cancelling its flights for four straight days and having to refute reports it was bankrupt. Mounting debts and pleas for help forced the federal government to announce earlier this month that it would not take over the company.

Fellow low-cost airline Viva Aerobus reported a net income loss of US$49.7 million in 2Q20, while the Mexican flag carrier Aeroméxico filed for Chapter 11 protection in June.

The virus has battered the industry and contributed to other woes facing AICM. Last week it was reported that debts owed to the airport by a variety of airlines and businesses dependent on the airport have grown by 10 times this year. Whether those debts will soon be repaid is anyone’s guess.

Photo by:   Jerry Zhang, Unsplash
Peter Appleby Peter Appleby Journalist and Industry Analyst