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News Article

Mexican Airport Groups Invest in Infrastructure Amid Pandemic

By Alicia Arizpe | Fri, 01/22/2021 - 13:50

Two airport groups, which jointly operate 25 airports in Mexico, have announced large infrastructure investments to increase the capacity of major airports in preparation of a global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. A third group has even indicated that it will build a new airport in the southeast of the country.

Mexico’s airport traffic has been reduced to a fraction of past years’ as a result of the healthcare and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. The country’s Federal Agency of Civil Aviation (AFAC), reports that the number of passengers during the first 11 months of 2020 was 53.7 percent smaller than the previous year. While some airlines are busy implementing cost-cutting measures to preserve liquidity, airport groups are using this period to invest in their infrastructure in preparation for better times.

Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico (GAP), which operates 12 airports in Mexico and two in Jamaica, announced a MX$25 billion (US$1.25 billion) investment that will allow it to double its capacity by 2026. “Despite the uncertainty we are facing because of the pandemic, the group keeps investing,” said Raul Revuelta, Director of Grupo GAP, in interview with A21. This announcement comes almost two months after Grupo GAP announced a revision of its 2020-2024 Master Development Plan, in which the group had contemplated a MX$15.8 billion (US$790 million) investment in the renovation of its 12 Mexican airports. The group reported a contraction in passenger traffic during the month of December as its total passengers shrank by 37.1 percent year-on-year, with domestic traffic reducing by 23.2 percent while international traffic fell by 52.3 percent.

Ricardo Dueñas, Director General of Grupo Aeroportuario Centro Norte (OMA), also indicated that the company is planning a multimillion-dollar investment. “We see the future with optimism. We have the largest investment plan in our history: MX$12 billion (US$600 million) in the next five years,” said Dueñas. The plan, he adds, will dedicate half of that money to the construction of a new wing and the refurbishing of the wing for legacy airlines at Monterrey International Airport. The group, which operates 13 airports in Mexico, also saw passenger traffic contracting during 2020. While OMA reported 41.5 percent less traffic in December 2020, during the entire year its total traffic fell by 52.3 percent.

Grupo Aeroportuario de Sureste (ASUR), which operates nine airports, also has significant infrastructure investments that include the construction of a new airport in Tulum, Quintana Roo. The group also reported smaller traffic during December, when it contracted by 41.2 percent year-on-year.

Alicia Arizpe Alicia Arizpe Senior Writer