Canaero to propose plan to ease Mexico City airport saturation

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Mexican air transport chamber Canaero will present this year a plan to improve efficiency at Mexico City international airport (AICM) in an attempt to ease saturation, an official told BNamericas' third Mexico Infrastructure Summit.

AICM, which handles 34% of Mexico's passenger traffic, was declared officially saturated last year, limiting flights to 61 an hour.

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"We want to present a project that ensures we all can live together, airlines, ground operations, air traffic, and that guarantees safety and efficiency," Canaero's second vice-president Benjamín Mejía told BNamericas.

"It's not a demand, but a proposal to work together to benefit the whole industry," he added.

Mexican authorities are studying plans to deal with increasing demand. Communications and transport ministry SCT has favored the expansion of the airport with new terminals, in a US$5bn-plus project that would triple capacity by the next decade.

However, plans to build another airport nearby have not been completely ruled out.

Mexico City's airport received 32mn passengers in 2013 and traffic will climb to 35mn in two years, according to Fernando Bosque, head of airport operator GAP, which does not include AICM among its terminals. Currently, AICM has capacity of 40mn passengers a year.

"Airlines have programmed investments in airplanes to comply with growing demand, adding pressure on infrastructure," Canaero executive Víctor Pavón said.

Mejía said any plan for AICM should consider growing demand for at least 15 years.

Boeing and Airbus have received orders for over 200 planes from Mexican airlines, which will start arriving in coming years.

Given AICM is the door to Mexico from most countries, saturation would end up slowing air traffic in the entire nation.

"In Mexico there is one problem and it's called Mexico City international airport," GAP's Bosque said.