Increases in user fees at the Mexico City International Airport (AICM) have made it the most expensive air terminal in Latin America.
The Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT) authorized hikes in the fee, or TUA, this month, raising it to US $51.12 for international travelers and $20.61 for passengers on domestic flights, increases of 24.7% and 2%, respectively.
The new tariffs went into effect last Thursday.
In comparison, travelers on international flights pay $40 at Tocumen International Airport in Panama, $38 at the airport in Bogotá, Colombia, $35.59 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and $30.74 in Lima, Peru.
At AICM some of the revenues obtained through the TUA charges have been used to finance the construction of the new airport, whose cost is estimated at 180 billion pesos (US $9.6 billion).
The airport was declared saturated in 2014. Today, a maximum of 61 flight operations are allowed per hour, while freight-only flights may only land at night.
All private flights have been diverted to the airport at Toluca, state of México.
AICM officials have also cracked down on airlines misusing their assigned takeoff and landing slots, going to the extreme of withdrawing them from airlines that fail to make adequate use of them and giving them to others.
Some other airports have also increased their user fees for international travelers: Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste (ASUR) operates nine airports in the southeastern states, where passenger now pay $24.21.
Grupo Aeroportuario del Centro Norte (OMA), operator of 13 airports in the central and northern states, raised the fee by 10% to $40.37.
The Mexico City airport was criticized two years ago for having the third-highest user fees in the world while offering substandard service. The federal Tourism Secretariat charged that the tariff was intended to pay for upkeep and to modernize infrastructure, yet the facility lacked air conditioning, smelled bad and the washrooms were not up to par.
The AICM reported that it served 44.7 million passengers last year, up 7.2% over 2016.
Source: Milenio (sp)