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News Article

June Passenger Traffic Continues Downward Trend

By Alicia Arizpe | Mon, 07/06/2020 - 11:32

Mexico’s aviation industry continues accumulating losses as the COVID-19 outbreak remains unabated. During the sixth month of 2020, two airport groups reported a sharp reduction in passenger traffic, albeit less pronounced than during April and May.

Airlines and airports across the globe continue to deal with a dearth of passengers that has severely hurt airlines. Mexico is no exception, with the country’s flagship airline Aeroméxico filing for bankruptcy protection just last week as its demand and revenue dried up. The prolonged decrease in traffic is widespread throughout the country, with two airport groups reporting double-digit contractions in passenger traffic for the fourth month in a row.

While the sector saw two positive months at the start of the year, traffic began to fall as COVID-19 spread throughout the country. On its traffic report for June, Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico (GAP) reported a 76.8 percent drop in total passenger traffic in comparison to June 2019. The group, which operates 12 airports in Mexico and two in Jamaica, reported that the sharpest drops were in international traffic, which fell by 84 percent, while domestic traffic fell by 71.7 percent. While the contraction is significant, it is smaller than the one faced during May when passenger traffic fell by 90.7 percent, which may point to a potential recovery for the industry as operations slowly go back to normal. “Concerning operations in our 12 Mexican airports, airlines have begun to restart and increment the frequencies of their national and international flights,” said GAP in its traffic report.

Grupo Aeroportuario Centro Norte (OMA), also saw a smaller contraction during June as traffic fell by 84.6 percent year-on-year. The sharpest fall was again international travel which fell by 91.2 percent, while domestic fell by 83.8 percent. Similar to GAP, OMA’s fall in passenger traffic was less pronounced during June. In May 2020, the group had reported a 93.5 percent year-on-year contraction, with international travel falling by 96.4 percent while domestic by 93.1 percent. OMA operates 13 airports in Mexico.

While the COVID-19 outbreak is far from over, the small recovery airports groups have seen in June might be a positive sign for the battered sector. However, there are still many challenges ahead. For instance, it is still unclear what impact Aeroméxico’s restructuration, if any, will have in the sector. After the airline announced it was filing for bankruptcy protection, GAP announced that the airline, which represents 10 percent of the group’s traffic, had no pending due balances with GAP. “We reiterate our support to Aeroméxico during its voluntary restructuration process, granting them the necessary facilities for its continuous operation in our airports,” said GAP.

Alicia Arizpe Alicia Arizpe Senior Writer