Sunday, June 16, 2024

AIFA: Transportation issues, lack of services cause inconveniences for travelers

A lack of services in the terminal building of the Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA) and difficulties getting to and from the new facility marred the experience of travelers who used the airport on its first day of operations.

Banks, currency exchange offices and food and beverage outlets at the AIFA – located approximately 50 kilometers north of Mexico City in México state – were not operational on Monday, according to a report by El Universal.

An information kiosk employee told the newspaper that banks and exchange offices will open in the coming days.

“There will be an HSBC and BBVA but they’re not operating today. There are no food outlets [open]. There will be more services as activities at the airport normalize,” the employee said.

While the services usually on offer at an international airport were not available, a number of informal vendors set up shop, hawking merchandise that included AIFA-related memorabilia. One enterprising woman set up a tlayuda stand and attracted a long lineup of hungry customers.

A resident of the Mexico City borough of Álvaro Obregón who traveled to the AIFA to take the inaugural flight to Caracas, Venezuela, described the new airport as “modern and very nice” but added that some fine-tuning is needed.

Ernesto Rodríguez also said that the installation of road signs to direct motorists to the facility from Mexico City would be helpful.

Alejandro Ortega told El Universal that getting to the airport from Huixquilucan, a México state municipality some 70 kilometers away, took almost three hours because navigation apps weren’t familiar with the route.

“It was a disaster honestly,” he said, explaining that the protracted route selected by Waze and Google Maps added 1 1/2 hours to his travel time.

“It took us almost three hours; two hours and 48 minutes,” said Ortega, whose mother-in-law was booked on the flight to Caracas which, like many other incoming and outgoing services on Monday, wasn’t on time.

Passengers who arrived at the AIFA on the first flights into the new airport also faced transport problems. Those who chose to leave on a Mexibús service endured wait times of over an hour due to the limited number of buses in operation, El Universal reported.

Passengers looking for a taxi found few options and high prices. An official at the sole taxi stand said that demand for taxis exceeded expectations. The 33 taxis that were dispatched to the airport to provide initial service were quickly taken, he said.

El Universal reported that a taxi trip to the center of Mexico City cost 812 pesos (US $40), while a journey to the southern neighborhood of Portales was slightly more expensive at 890 pesos. Hiring a car was cheaper, with companies such as Hertz offering a vehicle for 550 pesos per day with a 200-peso fee for dropping it off in central Mexico City.

Some passengers complained about the lack of internet signal to arrange a pick up via Uber, but there were reports that ride-sharing companies were prohibited from entering the AIFA precinct.

Private companies offered van and bus services to destinations such as Santa Fe, the Mundo E shopping center, the Observatorio bus terminal and Toluca, the capital of México state. The price of tickets was substantially lower than a taxi fare, and the drivers – unlike some people who traveled to the AIFA on Monday – presumably knew where they were going.

With reports from El Universal 

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