• Mexican authorities are reportedly considering reducing the number of hourly operations at Mexico City International Airport, which has already been reduced once last year.
  • This potential reduction is causing concern in the aviation industry, as it could lead to mass flight cancelations and hinder the country's international standing.
  • The root problem at the airport is not the number of operations, but rather the deteriorating infrastructure, which requires urgent intervention.

Mexico’s authorities are looking at the possibility of further reducing the number of hourly operations at Mexico City International Airport (MEX), to ease the saturation levels. The National Chamber of Air Transport (Canaero), worried about the possibility, released a statement on Monday warning against this measure, saying it could lead to hundreds of flight cancelations.

What is going on?

While there has not been any official information, rumors point out to the fact that Mexico’s government is looking to reduce the number of hourly operations, or slots, at MEX. Last year, the government opted to reduce from 61 to 52 hourly operations at the country’s largest airport to address the saturation levels.

Several aircraft lined up to depart from Mexico City
Photo: Andrea Izzotti/Shutterstock.

Airlines complied with the measure, but also upgauged their operations adding planes with more seats to their routes. This has kept the saturation levels at MEX’s terminals which are often overcrowded, particularly at peak hours.

New changes coming?

Now, Mexican authorities are looking to reduce even more the number of hourly operations. The Mexican aviation industry is not happy about it. Canaero expressed its concern and called upon the authorities against the possible unilateral reduction in operations at MEX. The Chamber said,

“An additional and unilateral reduction would severely impact operational planning, entail massive flight cancelations, and place the country in an unfavorable international position.”

This measure could further impact Category 1’s hopes

Mexico has been downgraded to Category 2 by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) since May 2021. The government has not been able to correct the findings of the FAA’s audit, which show the country’s aviation authority does not meet the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards. Reducing the number of hourly operations at MEX could further impact the hopes of regaining Category 1, Canaero said.

The Chamber said arbitrarily reducing MEX’s capacity “could complicate a process that has brought negative consequences for the country’s airlines and flying public for over two years.”

Why does MEX have some many issues?

The root problem at MEX’s current problems is not the hourly operation capacity, but rather the age and deterioration of the infrastructure, said Canaero. This requires urgent major intervention.

Several Aeromexico aircraft lined up in Mexico City
Photo: TamasV/Shutterstock.

Over the last two administrations, MEX has been largely overlooked. The previous administration, led by president Enrique Peña Nieto, attempted to build a new airport which would have substituted MEX. Following the appointment of current president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, that new airport project was canceled, and instead, a military base was retrofitted and turned into a commercial airport, the Felipe Ángeles (NLU), which has been the pet project ever since.

Canaero urged the government to see MEX as a critical facility for national security, government revenue, economic impact, and jobs. “The airport generates sufficient resources for what is needed; however, these resources aren't allocated for a comprehensive solution. We respectfully request that the authorities involve sector experts in their working groups to formulate a strategy that addresses the needs of present and future demand, benefiting the country's economic and social development.”

Do you think Mexico City International Airport should reduce even further its number of hourly operations? Let us know in the comments below.

  • Mexico City cargo Aeromexico
    Mexico City International Airport
    IATA/ICAO Code:
    Gerardo Ferrando
    Passenger Count :
    36,056,614 (2021)
    Runways :
    05R/23L - 3,900m (12,795ft) |05L/23R - 3,952m (12,877ft)
    Terminal 1 |Terminal 2