Santamarina Steta

The Cost of Operating by Consultation and by Decree, Turning its Back on Scientific Thought: Santamarina and Steta

  • The government has spent hundreds of billions of pesos to tear down an airport and build another without resolving the underlying problem.
  • What does the immediate future hold for the airport sector in the Valley of Mexico?

Mexico City. May 10, 2022. Juan Carlos Machorro, a partner in charge of the Transactional area of the firm Santamarina y Steta and an expert in aeronautics and airport infrastructure reviewed the counterproductive measures that have generated costs and risks for the Mexican airport system. "You don't play with aviation safety," he said.

  • More than 30 years ago, all serious feasibility studies have shown that the only viable alternative is Texcoco. In the words of MITRE, Texcoco "it was the ideal place... an excellent aeronautical site".
  • We are suffering the consequence of acting based on a consultation without methodological rigor and legal support. By consulting and by decree, the most significant airport infrastructure project in the country was canceled, and the forced reconfiguration of a military base began.
  • At the beginning of Covid-19, international organizations recommended that the country's governments (i) suspend investments in new airport infrastructure projects and (ii) allocate resources to support airlines.
  • In Mexico, these recommendations were not met, distributing resources for the project construction in Santa Lucía without any government support for the airlines.
  • By decree, the management of passengers is intended through the Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA).
  • The AICM has been in intensive care for years due to deteriorated operational and financial health.
  • When the Texcoco project was canceled, an airport destined to close permanently kept alive.
  • The primary income of the AICM is TUA, which represented 65% of revenue at the end of 2021. The entire collection of TUA is transferred to pay the MexCat Bonds issued to finance the Texcoco project.
  • In context, the primary income of the AICM is condemned to pay the debt of a canceled project, non-existent for the following decades.
  • To date, there is no certification issued by an authority or international organization in the matter that conclusively proves that AICM and AIFA can operate without risk simultaneously and at maximum capacity in the airspace of the Valley of Mexico.
  • MITRE itself confirmed at the time: "The AICM-Santa Lucía alternative is worrisome as it requires the creation of an extremely complex airspace..." "... far from satisfying the needs of CDMX for much of this century, it has re- it will saturate in a very short period..." " one has developed the obligatory study of airspace."
  • Instead of reducing AICM saturation, it has been increased.
  • The reconfiguration of the airspace in the Valley of Mexico to accommodate the operation of AIFA has resulted in more problems than solutions. The new configuration puts pilots and air operators in unnecessary predicaments, resulting in longer approach routes, delays, excessive fuel consumption, and noise pollution. And this is operating the AICM at 70% of the pre-pandemic stage.
  • The outlook is not promising. A dying airport (in operational and financial terms) coexists with another whose capacities do not represent a solution to the problem.
  • The reputational cost of canceling Texcoco will accompany this administration for the rest of the six-year term and ad perpetuam. The loss of economic resources is enormous. The delay in terms of connectivity will be measured in decades or decades. The damage is done. It remains for us to demand that the situation does not go beyond the sphere of operational security and wait for better times.

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