Former Military Officer Might Be Appointed AICM DirectorBy Fernando Mares | Thu, 07/07/2022 - 16:18
Local media reported the federal government’s intention to replace the head of the Mexico City International Airport (AICM) with a former member of the Mexican Navy (SEDENA) in an effort to reestablish previous safety indicators.
According to sources interviewed by Forbes, the current Director of AICM, Carlos Morán, might be replaced by Carlos Velázquez, Counter Admiral, who has served as Chief at the naval airbase of Campeche. Velázquez obtained his Counter Admiral grade in 2008, during Felipe Calderon’s presidential term.
In January, Morán was appointed Director of AICM. Since then, several problems with the airport’s operation have been made public. On May 10, 2022, AICM saw a near-collision between two Volaris planes. The airport has also had to deal with the introduction of the new Felipe Angeles International Airport (AIFA) to the Mexico City metropolitan area airspace and a safety rating downgrade from the US Federal Aviation Administration from Category 1 to Category 2.
López Obrador first addressed a new AICM director appointment on June 30, when he said there would be changes in the airport’s administration, with the aim to recover the country’s Category 1 air safety rating.
Currently, SEDENA carries out monitoring and control operations at the country’s customs offices since June 5, 2021. In February 2022, SEDENA deployed units at different airports of the country to safeguard passengers. At AICM, it deployed over 1,500 units for security and administrative purposes, aimed at stopping the flow of drug and illicit goods passing through the airport’s customs.
The militarization of infrastructure and other areas under López Obrador's administration has been constantly criticized by the press, civil society, the private sector and even by his own ministers. In July 2020, Javier Jiménez resigned as minister for Infrastructure, Communications and Transportation (SICT). Among the reasons for his departure, Jiménez explained his disagreement with the president's decision to hand over civil duties to the Armed Forces.
“I personally expressed my disagreement with his public policy decision to hand over the civil duties carried out by SICT regarding port, merchant marine and training of merchant marines to SEDENA,” Jiménez stated in his resignation letter.
The Mexican Army is currently participating in key infrastructure projects, such as AIFA, which was constructed by SEDENA’s engineers and is currently under its management. Similarly, the Suburban Train’s expansion to AIFA is being partially developed by SEDENA, as well as some sections of the Mayan Train. The Mexican Chamber of the Construction Industry (CMIC) have protested against the militarization of infrastructure, arguing that military engineers are privileged since their works are not audited, while the private sector’s projects are.