Ricardo Torres Appointed as Head of SENEAMBy Fernando Mares | Wed, 05/11/2022 - 11:09
After trouble in the airspace surrounding Mexico City’s International Airport (AICM) caused Victor Hernández Sandoval to resign, the Ministry of Infrastructure Communications and Transportation (SICT) appointed Ricardo Torres as the new Head of the Mexican Air Traffic Control Services (SENEAM).
The announcement comes a day after Hernández resigned on the back of an incident occurred this weekend, in which a Volaris airplane received authorization to land on a runway that was occupied by another Volaris plane that was about to take off. Following the resignation, Rogelio Pons, Deputy Minister for Transportation, said that Hernández had created an unpleasant working environment among air controllers, which led to significant problems that now must be addressed like deficient training and substantial workloads.
“No one agreed with [Hérnandez]. No one spoke well of him in the meeting we had. He got the position because he had the task of kick-starting the Felipe Angeles International Airport (AIFA) project and that project just finished. This Sunday morning, the decision was made,” Pons said.
Torres, who takes over at once, holds a degree in Business Management. In recent years, he has served as manager of SENEAM. SICT mentioned that Torres has 43 years of experience as an air controller. In addition, he participated in the implementation of the air traffic flow management to improve North America’s air traffic, a project carried out between SENEAM and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 2015.
Torres’ main challenges are reversing the increasing number of airspace security issues and redesigning Mexico City’s airspace, which had gotten increasingly unstable following the recent inauguration of AIFA. A labor dispute that Hernández could not solve is a further key task for the new SENEAM leader.
Last week, the International Federation of Air Line Pilots (IFALPA) expressed its concerns regarding the incidents that could occur while arriving at AICM. The organization considers the redesign of the Valley of Mexico’s airspace and insufficient air controller training regarding this restructure to be the cause of the incidents. In addition, the Union of Air Traffic Controllers (SINACTA) denounced 10 recent incidents at AICM, of which it said none were reported by SICT.
This Monday, Interior Minister Adán López met with representatives of airlines, SICT, the Ministry of Defense and the Navy, as well as from AICM and AIFA. According to the interior ministry, the parties agreed to “organize the airport system of Mexico City,” without granting further details about the measures that would be implemented.