Friday, December 9, 2022

Travel time from city to Felipe Ángeles in line with other major airports

The new Mexico City airport is much farther from the center of the capital than the existing airport, but the time needed to get to the former is not significantly different from the travel time to airports in numerous other major cities.

Located in México state, just over 50 kilometers north of downtown Mexico City, the army-built Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA) will open at the end of next month. Three airlines – Aeroméxico, Volaris and VivaAerobús – have already announced that they will use the new facility.

The federal government has faced criticism for deciding to build the airport so far from the city center, and there have been reports and assertions on social media that it could take up to 2 1/2 hours to reach it by road from the traffic-clogged capital.

But at 7 p.m. during the working week, Google Maps estimates that the travel time by car between the zócalo — Mexico City’s central square — and the AIFA is 90 minutes, the newspaper Milenio said.

Shortly after 4:00 p.m. today, the estimated travel time was 35 minutes longer, at two hours and five minutes. However, by around 5:30 p.m., it was back down to slightly less than 90 minutes.

Google Maps route from zocalo to AIFA
On Monday afternoon around 5:30 p.m. local time, Google Maps predicted that driving from Mexico City’s zócalo to the new Felipe Ángeles International Airport would take nearly an hour and a half.

In a report published Monday, Milenio compared the weekday travel time to airports in or near Mexico City to the time needed to get to airports in nine other cities: Washington D.C., New York, Los Angeles, Boston, London, Paris, Madrid, Beijing and Tokyo.

The estimated travel time from the zócalo to the existing Benito Juárez International Airport at 7:00 p.m. on a weeknight is 40 minutes, less than half the time needed to get to the AIFA, while a trip to Toluca airport – about 60 kilometers away – is expected to take two hours.

Milenio noted that a new highway system scheduled for completion in the second half of 2023 will reduce travel time to the AIFA, although how many minutes will be shaved off the trip is unclear.

The federal government is also extending the Mexico City suburban train line to reach the new airport from the Buenavista station, a journey that President López Obrador recently said would take 45 minutes. Milenio said that a trip to the AIFA on the extended railroad, which is also expected to begin operations in the second half of next year, will take just 39 minutes.

As things stand, getting to the AIFA by car from the zócalo takes five minutes more than getting to the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport from the White House. The closest airport to the U.S. president’s official residence and workplace is the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, just 18 minutes away by car, Milenio said.

From Central Park in New York, a car trip to the John F. Kennedy Airport in Queens takes one hour and five minutes at 7 p.m. on a weeknight, while the travel time to LaGuardia, located in the same borough, is a much shorter 28 minutes.

AMLO and Claudia Sheinbaum
President López Obrador and Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum testing out a planned extension of the capital’s suburban train line in December.

In the other seven multi-airport cities that Milenio considered, a car trip from a central landmark to at least one of the airports that serve Boston, London, Paris, Beijing and Tokyo takes over an hour.

By contrast, a trip from the Los Angeles City Hall to LAX takes an estimated 40 minutes, while getting to the Madrid-Barajas Airport from the Royal Palace in the Spanish capital takes just 35 minutes, according to Google Maps.

While getting to the AIFA will likely involve a long trip for many Mexico City residents, especially those who live on the capital’s south side, the location of the new airport – the Santa Lucía Air Force Base in the municipality of Zumpango – is convenient for people who live in heavily-populated México state municipalities located north of the capital itself but within its greater metropolitan area.

With reports from Milenio

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