In its first year of operation, the Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA) had 1.46 million passengers, which is less than the 2.5 million expected by the federal government. Furthermore, industry leaders remain skeptical about moving their operations to the capital city’s new airport.
The government reported that between March 2022 and March 2023, the number of passengers in the AIFA only represented 3.1% of those using the Mexico City International Airport (AICM).
In 2022, AICM recorded 46,258,521 passengers. In March, there were 4,129,601 million passengers, three times more than AIFA had in a year. According to AIFA, of the total passengers, 94.78%, 1,395,666 million, came from domestic flights, while only 5.22%, or 64,975, came from international flights. In March 2023, AIFA recorded 196,339 users, up 18.7% from 165,315 in February.
In addition, AIFA saw 14,342 operations come to its turf, of which 93.32%, 13,610, were domestic, while the remaining 6.68%, or 732, were international. So far, the domestic airlines operating in AIFA are Aeroméxico, Volaris, VivaAerobus and Magnicharters. The international airlines are Arajet, Conviasa and Copa Airlines.
Several industry leaders have said that they are not yet convinced to move their operations to AIFA, noting that it will depend on the development of variables such as traffic, the market response and possible connections. Marina Colunga, Iberia's Commercial Director for Latin America, commented that the company has no plans to operate in AIFA but highlighted the need for the City to have more aerospace capacity. “At this moment, after so many years of operation and betting as big as the one we have made, we have been able to somehow protect our operation and consolidate it in Mexico City. We are not evaluating moving to the other terminal,” said Colunga.
AIFA was inaugurated on March 21, 2022. Its development process has been criticized since its construction works, especially access routes, remain unfinished. In addition, due to AIFA’s low occupancy in flights, Mexico City International Airport’s (AICM) saturation problem has not been resolved. However, the airport is following its Master Development Program, which planned a "soft open or gradual opening, which allows the airport capacities to be in accordance with the development of air operations," said Isidoro Pastor Román, General Director, AIFA, to MBN. Pastor assured that operating at AIFA is optional for Mexican airlines, but he estimates that 45 percent of the international cargo will be moved from AICM to AIFA.
Pastor indicated that the latter airport would begin generating profits after two years of operations, approximately between December 2023 and March 2024. “Demand for passenger and cargo aviation is already reaching pre-pandemic levels and the industry is growing annually between 9-10 percent. There is not enough infrastructure in the Valley of Mexico to meet growing demand, so we are sure that additional clients will come to AIFA," Pastor said.