Mexico City airport caps operations at 85%

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  • Mexico City Aeromexico Freight
    Mexico City International Airport

    IATA/ICAO code:
    MEX/MMMX

    Country:
    Mexico

    CEO:
    Gerard Ferrando

    Number of passengers :
    36,056,614 (2021)

    Tracks :
    05R/23L – 3,900 m (12,795 ft) |05L/23R – 3,952 m (12,877 ft)

    Terminals:
    Terminal 1 | Terminal 2

On Thursday, Mexican authorities and the airline industry agreed to reduce the number of hourly operations at Mexico City International Airport (MEX), from 61 flights per hour to 52 during congested peak hours. This new rule will come into effect on October 31 and will last throughout the winter season and possibly even longer.


Reduce the number of flights

Mexico City airport authorities said the reason for the reduction in hourly operations is to improve customer service. The MEX has been plagued by delays, long lines, infrastructure issues and overcrowding in recent months. Local authorities issued a statement saying the airport terminals were congested around 18 hours a day.

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While a few operations can be expected to be canceled or rearranged on a different schedule, Mexican authorities have not shed any light on this. They only said that the temporary allocation of slots would be done in a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory manner, in coordination between the airport administration, the civil aviation authorities and the airlines.

The cut represents a reduction of almost 15% and is still awaiting final approval. This is not the first time that Mexican authorities have tried to reduce the number of hourly operations at MEX; earlier this year, authorities announced that hourly MEX operations could be reduced by 21% to 48 flights per hour. It was also announced an extent to which some flights would be moved to the new Felipe Ángeles International Airport (NLU) outside of Mexico City.

The cut represents a reduction of almost 15% and is still awaiting final approval. Photo: Guillermo Quiroz Martínez via @gquimar.

What are the airlines saying?

The reduction in the number of hourly operations will certainly have an impact on airlines operating in Mexico City, especially on domestic flights. Volaris, Aeromexico and Viva Aerobus could feel the most impact.

Volaris, the ultra-low-cost carrier, has already taken some steps to deal with this eventuality. In recent months, it has reduced the number of operations at MEX and sent part of its capacity to Felipe Ángeles and Toluca airports. Volaris told Simple Flying that the airline’s goal is not to operate from either airport; instead, it focuses on serving entirely Mexico City’s metropolitan airport system.

Viva Aerobus told Reuters that all airlines had agreed to cut flights and that MEX infrastructure conditions required temporary relief to carry out repairs.

Aeromexico opposed the Mexico City airport cap. In June, the airline filed for judicial review aspects related to congestion and studies on the operational capacity of the airport. Simple Flying has contacted Aeromexico for comment; the airline was not immediately available.

Some airlines have added new flights to the new Felipe Ángeles International Airport. Photo: Daniel Martinez Garbuno | Single flight.

Switching to NLU?

In May, Mexican authorities announced that MEX would not accept new flights; instead, these new services should go to Felipe Ángeles Airport. As part of an “orderly development” of the Mexican airline industry, the government is said to be trying to increase commercial services from the new hub, which made its first flight in March 2022.

The airport has had little success so far, with 50 weekly flights in August 2022, according to Cirium. The idea, however, is for the airport to increase the number of commercial services. By December, the airport will have 213 weekly flights and six operators, including three international ones, Conviasa, Copa Airlines and newcomer Arajet. Maybe the number of weekly flights will be higher if some of the flights that won’t have a slot at MEX are redirected to NLU.

What do you think of this decision to cap the number of hourly trades at MEX? Let us know in the comments below.

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