Government Announces Plan to Adress AICM SaturationBy Fernando Mares | Tue, 05/03/2022 - 14:51
The government announced it will issue a decree to reduce the arrivals and departures at AICM, Mexico City’s main airport, after it reported saturation in its two terminals. The decree will also help move flights to the new Felipe Angeles International Airport (AIFA).
The decree aims to reduce AICM’s 60 departures and arrivals per hour by 30 percent. This means the airport will manage 42 operations per hour. The decree will be issued in the coming months. To this end, the government is working together with the Federal Agency for Civil Aviation (AFAC), as well as with Services for Navigation in the Mexican Airspace (SENEAM).
Initially, the decree is intended to reduce AICM’s operations by 20 percent, but in the long term, this will ramp up to 30 percent. The first phase will start with cargo, charters and new airline flights, as well as what the government considers to be “surplus flights.”
“We must start with cargo, charters and excessive flights, new airlines and those that apparently are surplus. Then, we can move forward with other airlines… we need to analyze how many of them can be allocated in other airports, particularly in AIFA since it is ready, but Toluca is also an option that works,” said Rogelio Pons, Deputy Secretary, the Ministry of Infrastructure, Communications and Transport (SICT).
According to Pons, saturation is an issue that goes beyond the allocation of slots. The size of airplanes has increased from 120 passengers to more than 200, for example. Pons added that AICM has experienced saturation issues for over 20 years already.
Experts argue that the direct reduction of operations could be problematic. Cuhitláhuac Gutiérrez, Country Manager, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said that airlines have tried to establish a dialogue with the government to make a different plan to address the airport’s saturation.
“The 30 percent operation reduction scenario seems complicated; a total and direct reduction could be problematic. We need to understand where the operations are going, airlines will operate wherever there are revenues,” said Cuhitláhuac.
The government plans to move operations to AIFA and Toluca Airport, which have a capacity of over 28 million passengers a year. For this purpose, authorities are working on an incentive package: SICT is negotiating with the Tax Administration Service (SAT) as well as with the Ministry of Finance to launch a tax aid program, discounts on airport costs and jet fuel incentives.
AICM has long been battling saturation, with over 30 percent of the flights to and from the airport being delayed for at least 15 minutes in 1H21.