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1,000 Flights Per Week to Be Cut at Mexico City International Airport
The reduction of over 1,000 flights per week at Mexico City International Airport (MEX) is expected to take effect from the beginning of the Northern Winter schedule at the end of October, according to Reuters. News of the Mexican government-imposed reductions this week taking flight numbers down from 52 to 43 per hour has been met with criticism from airlines and airline advocacy group IATA (International Air Transport Association) given the changes are required with less than 2 months’ notice.
Peter Cerda, IATA Regional Vice President, said: “This decision by the government does not take into account the interests of consumers, nor does it respect the necessary consultative process with operators and users, especially at the country’s main airport.” Ironically, IATA held its Wings of Change Americas conference in Mexico in June and stated during the closing remarks that they were looking forward ‘to working with the Mexican Government to create a joint agenda to further utilize aviation to create jobs and economic opportunities for the country and its people.’
The Mexican government cites the need to reduce capacity in the Mexican capital’s airspace as one of the reasons for the cuts. The ability to accommodate more flights at Felipe Angeles International Airport (NLU) is also behind the rationale. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Thursday: “Since we have the (NLU), which does have the capacity, that’s how we’re going to resolve this.”
NLU opened in March 2022 and major Mexican carriers Aeroméxico, Volaris and Viva Aerobús operate from the airport in addition to MEX. However, all three airlines were critical of Thursday’s announcement by the president and the fact that no criteria have so far been given on how the cuts will affect all airlines, not just the Mexican carriers.
In a statement reported by Reuters, Viva Aerobus said: “The short notice of this decision will have a negative impact on the travel plans of thousands of passengers, especially given how soon the high season of winter is.” Most airlines will already have flights for sale for the Northern Winter period and a number will be selling for most of next year’s summer period.
Volaris is reported as questioning the need for a robust methodology to any process in determining how the cuts are allocated “to guarantee equity and avoid any form of discrimination in the implementation of these measures.” Aeromexico cites the ‘effect on workers and the ability to attract new investments’ which the airline says is dependent on “legal certainty and adequate air connectivity.” NLU is north of the city and currently relies on road transport to link it to the city center after a rail link opening was delayed to 2024.
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