IATA ready to cooperate on Mexico City airspace redesign

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said it appreciates the decision by the Government of Mexico to work with industry to identify feasible and safe solutions for managing Mexico City airspace, given that the government is determined to operate three airports within 70 km of each other.

The new Mexican government has cancelled plans for a New Mexico City International Airport (NAIM) project which could have handled 120 million people annually and which would have helped manage passenger traffic growth forecast to increase by 3.6 per cent each year over the next two decades.

The government is now proposing a three-airport system for the city: continued operation of the current Mexico City International Airport, increased use of Toluca Airport and conversion of the Santa Lucia Airbase for civilian use.

IATA said it has sought constructive dialogue since the government presented its three airport plan for Mexico City and that it stands ready to contribute its experience and resources to work with the SCT and SENEAM to achieve an adequate result for the country and the industry.

“It is important that the airspace management is well balanced with the operational capabilities on the ground at the three airports, otherwise the expected increase in capacity will be compromised,” it said. “In addition, it is important to note that airspace management is only part of the proposal of the three government airports. IATA is committed to contributing its experience and full immediate collaboration with the authorities in the development of the Santa Lucia Airport plan and expanding and improving the existing infrastructure at the Mexico International Airport.”

“Moving forward on this issue is of high urgency, since the current airport in Mexico City is operating above its designed capacity. In resolving this issue, Mexico will be able to participate in the expected growth of the aviation sector,” said Peter Cerdá, IATA regional vice president for the Americas.

Mexico City International Airport was designed for 32 million passengers annually but handled 48 million in 2018.

IATA published its latest study on the value of aviation in Mexico in February of this year, highlighting the possible economic benefits that the country could achieve if it fully participated in the expected growth of the industry in the next 20 years. The annual GDP would almost double from $37.1 billion to $80 billion, would generate about 100 million additional annual passengers, from 98 million to 196 million and would create 800,000 additional jobs, which would go from $1.4 million to $2.2 million.