The Felipe Angeles International Airport (AIFA) will begin operations on March 21, 2022 with domestic flights of low-cost airlines (Volaris and VivaAerobus) that are currently leading the recovery of the national industry after the harsh impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

To date, the work has a physical progress of 78.9% and nearly 70% of the 75,000 million pesos that exist with a maximum and immovable budget have been carried out. For the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena) there is no doubt that before that day the corresponding authorizations and certifications will be in place.

No surprise

The reason that these companies have raised their hands is that their business model is in line with the objective of the new terminal from its origin, as reported by the own agency in charge: the project is based on a simple concept with the in order to adapt to the austerity plan of the Government of Mexico, without losing sight of innovation, efficiency and functionality. Therefore, there was no major surprise on the morning of October 27, Volaris reported that it would fly from there to Tijuana (one of its operations centers) already Cancún, the tourist jewel of the country.

It was a matter of time and the information on the operating costs that will be incurred in the new terminal (which are not publicly known to date). VivaAerobus has acted with greater prudence and hopes to know the numbers before announcing its flights, one of them may also be to Cancun. For his part, in full business competition, the director of Volaris, Enrique Beltranena, took the first step and explained the reasons for his upcoming takeoffs at AIFA, without stopping to touch base or slow down at the 42 airports where they are present.

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“By updating our strategy of expansion and continuous growth in Mexico, where we annually transport around 25 million passengers, we have seen that only in the immediate area of ​​the new airport there is a market of 4.8 million potential customers. Knowledge of the segment of those who visit friends and family, leadership in the domestic market and experience in operational safety were key in the decision to reach a new destination to continue democratizing air transport in Mexico, “he said.

Low costs

A sample of the expected alienation of the aforementioned companies and the airport for their startup (which does not imply that in the following days other companies with different businesses such as regional Aeromar and TAR or the same Aeroméxico Group with one, two or three flights a week), was offered by the General Military Engineer and leader of the work, Gustavo Vallejo, who in a television interview said: At its opening, the airport will have 45 positions for passenger aircraft, of which 28 of which will have a telescopic aisle, 12 will be remote and five will have an open platform a few meters from the terminal where passengers will board on foot, which are what low-cost companies have asked us to do. This request, it is clear, is to reduce payments and reflect that in the final price of the tickets they sell, without implying leaving aside the security issues required by the authorities.

As an example, in the Mexico City International Airport (AICM), the first hour of use of the corridor now costs 1,028 pesos in domestic flights and 2,148 pesos in international flights (the first additional period of 15 minutes costs 367 and 645 pesos, respectively).

The air analyst Carlos Torres, considered that once all the costs are had (airport use fee, landing, boarding platforms, disembarkation, aerocars, review of passengers and their luggage, among others), the airlines will make numbers and eventually it will make sense to have some additional operation in the AIFA. One of the attractions that could be presented are the costs for the overnight stay of the planes and starting their daily activities from the Mexican terminal.

Terrestrial connectivity

Among the common doubts about the eventual use of the airport are those of how passengers will arrive in those first days. A popular option is to place vans or trucks from somewhere in Mexico City, perhaps the same AICM, or State of Mexico. In the same way that Volaris and Interjet were made, at the time, to transfer their passengers to the Toluca International Airport (AIT).

Due to the fact that the expansion of the suburban train (Buenavista-Cuautitlán), from the Lechería station to the AIFA will be completed a couple of years after the inauguration of the terminal, General Vallejo has reported that there is certainty that the roads, land accesses , contemplated, they will be ready by day zero. There are three options it raises, which are under the responsibility of the Ministry of Infrastructure, Communications and Transport (SICT), as head of the sector, although it is only fully involved in one: the Tonanitla access, which will be connected from the Mexico highway -Pachuca, which will be toll free and will have eight lanes. The other two are highways that will connect with cargo and passenger areas: the expansion of the México-Pachuca and a connection of the Circuito Exterior Mexiquense. In addition to at least one Mexibus transportation system.

According to the military, arriving will not be an obstacle and for the moment the SICT validates the studies of traffic behavior made from the Fuente de Petróleos (heart of the demand for air services in Mexico City, the zócalo or Coyoacán), The same that “give good times and excellent distances”.

– Will more airlines arrive at AIFA? General Vallejo was asked on television.

– I want to reiterate that the airport is built in a pre-certified manner. We do not do anything that is not previously certified by the Federal Civil Aviation Agency, which represents the interests of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Runways and instrument landing systems have already been certified with verifier aircraft. People think that on March 21 of next year we are going to say: come and certify, but no. Everything that is built is previously certified. The airport will be certified worldwide and airlines know it.

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