AICM Operated During the Weekend with One RunwayBy Fernando Mares | Wed, 07/27/2022 - 15:10
This weekend, Mexico City International Airport (AICM) carried out its operations with just one runway, which caused delays for several flights. The incident comes off the back of an increasingly instable operation and maintenance scheme for the airport’s infrastructure and the government’s shifting focus toward strengthening the Felipe Angeles International Airport (AIFA).
On July 24, 2022, at 18:05 p.m., AICM reported the temporary closure of the runway 05R/23L due to repairs. According to AICM, the recent rain in Mexico City and the runway’s near-constant usage formed a pothole in the asphalt, filled with gravel. “Since this is a critical area, it requires immediate attention. Therefore, it will be closed for safety reasons,” said the airport in a statement on Twitter.
Thirty-five flights of different companies were delayed: seven arrivals and 28 departures. Only three flights were canceled entirely. President López Obrador reported that his flight to Jalisco was one of the delayed operations. Some travellers reported that their flights were diverted to different airports, although AICM’s authorities did not report such cases.
AICM authorities said the repair work would be ready by 2:00 p.m. on June 26, but work was finished two hours later than scheduled due to the strong rainfall. “From that time, takeoffs and landings took place on both of the airport’s runways,” reported AICM.
Commenting on the matter, López Obrador said that during his flight, the pilot mentioned that the delay was caused by “a crater” in the runway, but the president clarified that this statement was somewhat exaggerated. He also denied that his administration is forcing airlines to move to AIFA and accused those who may have benefited from the canceled airport in Texcoco of running a smear campaign against his government.
AICM is the country’s most important airport. Nevertheless, its operations have been deteriorating because of lacking maintenance and mismanaged resources. According to Juan Machorro, Partner, Santamarina y Steta, this is a problem it has been dragging on for decades. AICM was intended to close its operations once the Texcoco airport was ready, but the latter project’s cancelation resulted in AICM continuing its operations, albeit with fewer resources.
MBN reported that AICM’s management has been unable to carry out 18 infrastructure works required to facilitate the airport’s successful operation. The largest investment was worth US$60 million, aimed to perform maintenance works to address structural issues in both terminals and ensure a smooth operation in the medium and long term.