Monday, June 17, 2024

AIFA cargo terminal has a busy first month of operations

Despite only beginning to receive cargo earlier this month, operations at the new Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA) have reached a level of moving 2,000 tonnes and 12 aircraft per week.

The figure is equivalent to 624 flights and 104,000 tonnes of cargo per year, as the México state airport establishes itself as the primary cargo destination for imports in the capital.

First cargo flight to land at Felipe Angeles International Airport, Mexico
The first cargo flight to land at AIFA, was a DHL plane from Cincinnati, Ohio. The logistics company will run the route six days a week, DHL Express México officials said. (Photo: Mario Jasso/Cuartoscuro)

The enormous facilities – which have capacity for up to 300,000 tonnes of cargo per year – measure the same as 48 soccer fields. There is also space for an additional 36 warehouses, which officials are optimistic will be required when AIFA is designated as the primary cargo terminus later this year.

Airport officials anticipate to be prepared for this change in June – when cargo operations are expected to cease at the Benito Juárez International Airport (AICM), Mexico City’s main airport and the busiest one in the country, according to the Ministry of Infrastructure, Communications, and Transport. 

The new customs facilities – the first built in Mexico for 12 years – are now operational, allowing the military (who are tasked with customs and excise at ports of entry) to quickly process arrivals. 

DHL, AeroUnion, and Awesome Cargo became the first cargo airlines to officially announce operations from AIFA at the end of 2022, and all three are now regularly scheduling flights between Mexico City and the north of Mexico. U.S.-Canadian hauler Cargojet recently joined the list of operators.

The airport, in the town of Zumpango, in northern México state, is taking advantage of new transport links designed to accommodate large numbers of passengers and cargo more comfortably than at AICM. 

“In the AICM, we already have a load saturation that may not be seen right now; perhaps we will endure it until 2024, but in a few years, it would no longer be manageable,” said Carmen Sánchez, commercial director at Aaacesa, the construction specialists tasked with building the infrastructure that will facilitate the move from Benito Juárez to AIFA.

AIFA’s location — near Pachucha, the state capital of Hidalgo — allows for better haulage once cargo arrives when compared to the congested roads in the center of the capital, says the government. Recent upgrades to existing ring roads also mean that the México state capital Toluca is easily accessible by road.

Mexico has seen high levels of commerce post-pandemic, with 2022 recording the highest levels of foreign direct investment since 2015. 

With reports from El Pais

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