The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is asking the Mexican government to develop a joint transition plan to transfer dedicated cargo operations from Mexico City International Airport (AICM) to other air terminals in the country. The Mexican government is encouraging airlines to take advantage of the new Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA), which is ready to perform these services, says Isidoro Pastor, General Director, AIFA.
A leaked preliminary draft reports that AICM will be closed “for the operations of concessionaires and permit holders that provide national and international scheduled and non-scheduled air transportation services to the public, exclusively for cargo. Concessionaires and permit holders that provide combined passenger and cargo services are exempted, provided cargo is transported in the same aircraft as passengers,” as previously reported by MBN.
Mexican cargo operators have expressed dissatisfaction with the decision, explaining that a successful transition involves a complex process that must be well planned in advance. IATA mentions that while the industry understands the need to alleviate AICM’s saturation, expecting airlines to move their cargo operations in such a short timeframe is not feasible given the enormous technical, regulatory and infrastructure requirements associated with a move of this kind. “Neither the airlines nor the associated cargo supply chain can pack up and move to an alternative airport. This process involves complexity and must be well-planned to avoid operational disruption. To do this, we need all stakeholders to work in a coordinated manner, ensuring the safe and efficient flow of cargo in and out of the country,” said Peter Cerdá, Regional Vice President for the Americas, IATA.
For airlines to move their operations to other airports, authorities first need to provide several critical cargo infrastructure, such as:
- Third-party certifications required by terminal(s) operators
- Adequate equipment for cargo warehouses that is authorized by the Mexican Civil Aviation Authority (ACAA)
- An operational customs system
- Sufficient customs agents to clear imported cargo
- Registration of freight forwarders for AIFA
IATA states that AIFA still lacks these requirements. AIFA also lacks comprehensive ground transportation infrastructure to and from the airport to support the movement of both passengers and cargo.
“Air cargo plays a vital role in Mexico’s socioeconomic development, and any prolonged disruption to Mexico’s air cargo infrastructure will harm the well-being of the country’s citizens and businesses. The industry will continue the dialogue with the authorities on a viable transition plan to ensure that the delivery of critical goods by air is maintained for the residents of Mexico and cargo airlines can operate safely and efficiently,” stated Cerdá.
Despite these challenges, Pastor told A21 that AIFA has 12 warehouses for cargo, of which three are ready to receive and manage cargo.