Construction of a third terminal at the Mexico City International Airport (AICM) won’t be enough to solve its severe saturation problem, according to the chief of a regional airlines association.
“New infrastructure is always positive but there are several problems at the AICM,” said Luis Felipe de Oliveira, director of the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association.
“There is no way to increase [the number of] runways and the connection between the three terminals is not ideal,” he added, explaining that airport congestion is a huge problem.
The third terminal will help, de Oliveira said, “but it won’t solve the problem.”
Gerardo Ferrando, CEO of the Mexico City Airport Group, announced in April that a master plan for a third terminal was being drawn up and predicted that it will open next year. He also said that the possibility of a fourth terminal was being analyzed.
The federal government has allocated more than 4 billion pesos (US $204.3 million) for upgrades at the AICM and is also planning to revamp the Toluca airport and build a new 80-billion-peso airport at the Santa Lucía Air Force Base north of the capital.
De Oliveira was critical of the three-airport plan, stating that the distance between the facilities will mean that “connectivity is lost” and that passengers will be dissuaded from using Mexico as a hub for flights to other destinations.
“We have a lot of doubts, we know that the decision has been made, we want to work together with [the government] but unfortunately the decision won’t help Mexico to be better connected,” he said.
Even construction of a high-speed rail link between the AICM and Santa Lucía won’t be enough to ensure continued aviation growth, de Oliveira said.
The government is pursuing a three-airport plan after canceling the partially-built US $13-billion Mexico City airport at Texcoco, México state.
President López Obrador says his plan will be cheaper and relieve congestion at the Mexico City airport more quickly, but some aviation experts contend that it will be impossible for the AICM and the Santa Lucía airport to operate simultaneously because they are too close together.
Source: Milenio (sp)