AIFA Celebrates Inauguration but Key Works Remain Unfinished
The Felipe Angeles International Airport (AIFA) was inaugurated on Monday while construction works for its access paths continue. Land routes to access the new airport remain limited, as do public transportation options for passengers who arrive from the Mexico City metropolitan area.
While the shopping mall and museums in the military city are already operating and welcoming visitors free of charge, work continues at full speed to complete road accesses to AIFA. The main entrance to the airport is not yet ready. The current option to enter the airport is a provisional entrance installed in the military city in Tecamac. The second option is to take the Mexico-Pachuca highway, which finished its lane expansion just one day prior to AIFA’s inauguration. Once inside, there are no clear signs to indicate the access to the airport or the military city’s cultural attractions.
One of the main complaints toward AIFA is the lack of mobility options for public transportation users. The promised projects to travel to the airport are still limited. One of the two main projects, the Suburban Train expansion, will not be ready before 2023, one year after AIFA’s inauguration. At the moment, the only option to reach the airport using public transportation is the Mexibus line to AIFA, which began operations on March 21 with eight new stations: Lomas Bonita, Ozumbilla, San Francisco, Tecámax, Glorieta Militar, Combustibles, Hacienda and AIFA.
To address the limited transportation options, 14 pickup points have been set up in the Mexico City metropolitan area. The service will be provided by private bus companies and the airport. As of March 22, no information was provided regarding schedules, specific locations or companies offering the services.
Outside Mexico City, companies such as ADO and Estrella Roja will launch routes from Puebla to AIFA. Primera Plus will transport passengers from Queretaro, while Caminante and Pullman will do so from Cuernavaca. It will also be possible to reach AIFA through apps like Uber and Didi. However, these services will not be able to pick up passengers from the airport terminal. This restriction will remain in place until a contractual relationship can be established with the mobility companies.
General Isidoro Pastor, General Director, AIFA, acknowledged that the commutes from the established connection points in the State of Mexico and Mexico City are longer than those calculated to reach Mexico City International Airport (AICM). However, the waiting time at the passenger terminal is less than that at AICM: for domestic flights at AIFA, passengers will only have to arrive one hour in advance instead of two. For international flights, the waiting time will be two hours instead of three.
On the morning of March 21, the first commercial flight took off from AIFA, officially inaugurating its operations. Aeromexico operated the flight going to Villahermosa, Tabasco, using an Embraer 190.
So far, there are only eight domestic routes operating at AIFA by airlines Aeroméxico, Volaris and Viva Aerobus. Conviasa is the only international airline that will operate at the new airport in the near future, with a flight to and from Venezuela. At a press conference prior to the inauguration, President López Obrador confirmed that his government is already in talks with Delta Airlines to operate flights to the US.
After two and a half years of construction and MX$74.3 billion (US$3.66 billion) in investment, AIFA was officially inaugurated. Due to an electoral ban on such communications, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador did not give an inauguration speech. He attended the ceremony nonetheless and was accompanied by members of his cabinet and by the governors of Mexico City, the State of Mexico and Hidalgo.