AIFA to Receive 100 New Operations
Two months after the inauguration of the Felipe Angeles International Airport (AIFA), federal authorities have reached an agreement with airlines to move their operations from Mexico City International Airport (AICM) to the city’s newest airport.
According to the government, more than 100 daily operations will be transferred from August 15, 2022 onward. Airlines that owe more than their yearly tax liabilities as well as national cargo and charter flights will be transferred sooner. The government hopes that in three months’ time, international cargo flights can be relocated too, once AIFA’s infrastructure is ready to handle the volume.
During the meeting between federal authorities and airline representatives, the three main airlines operation at AICM, Aeromexico, Volaris and Viva Aerobus, committed to moving their operations. They will do so in two stages during this year, from August 14 and from September 15 onward. In addition, the landing and takeoff of unauthorized and unprogrammed flights will no longer be accepted.
According to the agreement, Aeromexico will move 10 flight routes in the first stage and 20 more in the second. Overall, Volaris will move 20 routes and Viva Aerobus will move 10. Interior Minister Adán López denied a supposed decree that intended to force airlines to move to AIFA, arguing that this was a consensual agreement, not an imposed decree. “That decree never existed. What this is all about is a mutual understanding between authorities and the companies that operate at the airport,” said López.
In 2021, the Federal Administration of Aviation (FAA) downgraded Mexico’s air security rating, which stopped Mexican airlines from opening new flights in the US and obstructed AIFA’s goal of opening new routes. The agreement is intended to address this situation, as the government announced that it will redouble its effort to once again improve its FAA ratings. Nevertheless, analysts argue that this cannot become a reality before this summer.
The agreement aims to accelerate the desaturation of AICM and increase AIFA’s operations, since the latter airport currently only operates six domestic flights and a route to Caracas, Venezuela.
The negotiations occurred after two Volaris airplanes nearly collided. The incident caused the resignation of Víctor Hernández, former Head of the Mexican Air Traffic Control Services (SENEAM). Hernández was replaced by experienced air controller Ricardo Torres.
The federal government has tried to attract airlines to operate at AIFA, by using an incentive package that included a tax aid program, discounts on airport costs and jet fuel incentives.