By Albert Kuan
Why Aeromexico Will Not Fly From Mexico City’s New International Airport
Aeromexico recently confirmed it would not operate from Mexico City’s brand-new Felipe Ángeles International Airport, after much speculation whether the Mexican flag carrier would operate from the capital’s newest airport once it opens in early 2022.
The airline advised its decision was firm and that it would instead focus its efforts on financial restructuring. The carrier will also concentrate on strengthening its position at Mexico City’s Benito Juárez Airport where it is currently based. Aeromexico has previously indicated that due to its operations model, it prefers to maintain its base of operations at Benito Juárez Airport.
“There may be a market (at Felipe Ángeles), but for the moment we have not seen it,” José Zapata, Aeromexico’s Vice President of Sales, said to a local news agency. “Why would we put airplanes there at this time if there are no (passengers) to fly?”
Zapata, however, stressed the airline remains open to future changes. “If market conditions change, we will re-analyze it,” Zapata added.
As proof of its objective to grow at Benito Juárez Airport, Aeromexico said prior to its announcement about Felipe Ángeles that it would move 20 flights operated by Aeromexico Connect to Terminal 1 where they haven’t operated for 13 years since moving to Terminal 2.
Although the Mexican government has promoted Felipe Ángeles Airport as an “impressive” and “world-class” facility, some critics have deemed the airport controversial due to its construction timeline and distance from the city center. The new airport — located about 28 miles north of the capital on Santa Lucía Air Force Base — broke ground in 2019 and is being built by the Mexican army.
The Mexican government has advised it would limit operations per day at Benito Juárez Airport in 2022 and 2023 to help distribute flights to Felipe Ángeles Airport.
With thousands of workers still working against the clock inside and outside of the project, the Mexican army has already opened up the airport’s grounds to the media and potential operators to help boost confidence in the U.S. $3.8 billion projects, which also includes a new highway linking the airport to the city center.
Thus far, Aeromexico and Air Canada are the only airlines to say no flying to the capital’s newest airport.
Aeromexico’s statement contradicts what was announced by low-cost carriers Volaris and VivaAerobus, both of which will begin operating domestic flights from the airport in late March. According to Juan Carlos Zuazua, VivaAerobus’ Chief Executive Officer, the airport will be a success as long as it has convenient and cheap ground transportation to the city center.
Mexican low-cost carriers Volaris and VivaAerobus confirmed earlier this month they would operate domestic flights from the airport. Volaris has opened up reservations for flights to Cancún and Tijuana, while VivaAerobus has advised it would determine the destinations for Felipe Ángeles once rates to operate the airport are published. Volaris will be the first carrier to fly out of the airport when it opens on March 21, 2022.