Monday, April 15, 2024

Mexico in Numbers: Felipe Ángeles International Airport

When United States President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau flew into Mexico last month for the North American Leaders’ Summit, their official aircraft didn’t touch down at the Mexico City International Airport but rather at the 10-month old Felipe Ángeles International Airport AIFA), located north of the capital’s downtown.

Built by the army on an Air Force base in the México state municipality of Zumpango, AIFA is one of President López Obrador’s pet infrastructure projects, its construction taking place after AMLO canceled the previous federal government’s more grandiose airport following a legally questionable referendum held before he took office in late 2018.

This edition of “Mexico in Numbers” – see the most recent previous one here — provides a numeric rundown on the new airport in Q & A format, looking at a range of relevant figures ranging from its size to the latest passenger numbers.

How far is AIFA from central Mexico City?

By road, AIFA is 44.7 kilometers from Mexico City’s central square, the Zócalo, according to Google Maps.

How long it will take you to get there from central Mexico City is very much dependent on the time of day you set out as traffic conditions vary considerably.

Expect a journey of about one hour if traffic is flowing well, and two hours or more if roads are gridlocked.

A train link from the Buenavista station in central Mexico City is expected to allow travelers to reach the airport in about 40 minutes, but that project is still under construction.

How big is AIFA?

The total area of the airport is 1,531 hectares, or 15.31 square kilometers, according to information on the federal government’s website.

The size of the Santa Lucía Air Force base on which AIFA was built is 2,331 hectares. The area not occupied by the airport houses air force and army facilities.

How long did it take to build?

AIFA opened on March 21, 2022 – 886 days after AMLO officially inaugurated its construction on October 17, 2019. That’s just over two years and five months, in case you hadn’t already done the math.

Federal Tourism Minister Miguel Torruco told a conference in Spain last month that the airport was built in “record time.”

How much did it cost?

The federal government said in a statement in April 2022 that the total construction cost was 74.53 billion pesos, or just under US $4 billion at the current exchange rate.

However, the newspaper El Universal reported in March last year that just over 104.5 billion pesos had already been spent on the airport, and that an additional 11.45 billion pesos had been allocated to the project for 2022, lifting the total cost to 115.98 billion pesos, or about US $6.2 billion.

How many passenger airlines use the airport?

The main Mexican airlines – Aeroméxico, Volaris and Viva Aerobús – all operate flights to and from AIFA as do Venezuelan carrier Conviasa, the Dominican Republic’s Arajet and Panama’s Copa Airlines.

Mexico’s Magnicharters also uses AIFA, taking the total number of airlines with services to and from the new airport to seven.

How many runways does AIFA have? 

The airport has three runways, but only two are used by commercial airlines. Its main runway is 45 meters wide and 4.5 kilometers long, making it the longest runway in Mexico.

In January, AIFA managed for the first time to make it to the bottom of Mexico’s list of busiest airports for domestic passengers. But when considering total passenger numbers in 2022, AIFA is still a tiny bubble in the middle of the graph.  

How many passengers have used AIFA since it opened last March?

According to the Ministry of Infrastructure, Communications and Transport’s end-of-year report, AIFA had processed a total of 876,000 passengers by the end of 2022.

AIFA director Isidoro Pastor Román said recently that passenger No. 1 million would pass through the airport on the weekend of Jan. 14 and 15.

“We’re handling an average of 8,000 passengers per day. In the coming days, this weekend, we’ll reach one million passengers transported from March to the current date, and we expect to finish the first year of operations with just over 1.3 million passengers,” he said.

What is the airport’s annual passenger capacity? 

According to the federal government, AIFA can currently handle 20 million passengers per year. The capacity could increase to as many as 80 million if planned extensions go ahead.

By comparison, the “saturated” Mexico City International Airport had record passenger traffic of 50.3 million people in 2019, while 46.2 million travelers passed through its two terminals in 2022.

Mexico News Daily 

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