Image credits: Bogdan Karlenko
News Article

New Air Routes Cause Uncertainty

By Sofía Hanna | Thu, 04/22/2021 - 12:01

The Ministry of Communications and Transportation (SCT) launched the first phase of the airspace redesign for the Mexico Valley on Mar. 25. This redesign considers the airports of Mexico City and Toluca. Since the opening of the new routes, however, there have already been two planes that were on the verge of crashing. Studies show a complete redesign of Mexico’s airspace could take years. 

The idea behind this renovation is to include the Felipe Ángeles International Airport in Santa Lucia to be ready for its inauguration in March 2022. The entire plan is based on Performance Based Navigation that helps to evolve air navigation through the current and future use of ground infrastructure. this redesign was expected to reduce average flight time of aircraft operating in the airspace of the metropolitan airport system by 16 percent, leading to greater efficiency in routes, fewer operational delays, lower fuel consumption and fewer interactions and less workload for pilots, according to the official SCT release. 

After the inauguration of the first phase of the program, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) mentioned results were wanting. The new airspace will take several years to consolidate so existing routes are aligned and coordinated, reported T21. However, shortly after the introduction of new routes, it was announced that two planes were about to collide. Controllers did not have the correct coordinates to support pilots, according to Forbes. 

“All airspace redesign can put (navigation) at risk; but the controller’s function is to ensure accidents do not happen. They have to be vigilant and be attentive of the radar to avoid accidents. There have already been reports that a couple of planes had to make an evasive maneuver,” José Alfredo Covarrubias, General Secretary of the National Union of Air Traffic Controllers (SINACTA), mentioned to Forbes. Covarrubias also mentioned that the Air Navigation in the Mexican Air Space Service (SENEAM) is hiding the reports of possible accidents to avoid losing face with President López Obrador, which could be extremely dangerous for controllers and their maneuvers. “They want future operations in Santa Lucia to be successful,” he said.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
Forbes, SCT,
Sofía Hanna Sofía Hanna Junior Journalist and Industry Analyst