Santamarina Steta

Operating at AIFA Presses Airline Costs

Experts say: Asking companies to use the two terminals is a deficiency of commercial sensitivity.

The agreement with the federal government and the airlines to carry out more than 100 daily operations at the Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA) starting next August 15 will increase the airlines operating costs, which have not yet recovered financially from the pandemic, experts warned.

To operate both at the Mexico City International Airport (AICM) and at AIFA, companies need ground and air personnel at both terminals, and if they have code-share agreements with foreign airlines, the connection for flights that They arrive in Mexico City, but they are going to another destination, which "is a disaster," said Juan Carlos Machorro, an expert in aeronautics and airport infrastructure at the Santamarina y Steta law firm.

“Airlines are a sector that has been especially hard hit by the pandemic. They did not receive a single penny of support from the federal government, and now they are forcing them to leave their operations in the AICM and AIFA, which is a lack of commercial sensitivity for these companies, whose profit margins are very low”, explained the analyst.

Machorro commented that airlines operate from a specific terminal due to economies of scale and code-share alliances to facilitate flight connections.

At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, he recalled, the International Air Transport Association (LATA) recommended that governments suspend investment in various new airport infrastructure projects and allocate resources to support airlines. "In Mexico, these recommendations were not met, distributing resources for the project construction in Santa Lucía," Machorro stressed. "Now, by decree, it is intended to manage passengers through AIFA," he said.

On March 17, Aeroméxico concluded its financial restructuring process under Chapter 11. In the first quarter of the year, the airline's revenues were 12 thousand 902 million pesos, but it reported a net loss of 3 thousand 94 million.

In addition, the average cost of jet fuel increased by 66% during that period. Now, the airline will operate in Terminal 2 of the AICM, where the flights of its commercial partner Delta arrive; in Terminal 1, where it occupied some times left by Interjet, and from AIFA from October. 

Between last January and March, the airlines Volaris and Viva Aerobus reported losses of 980 million and 600 million pesos, respectively.

Pablo Casas Lías, director of the National Institute of Aeronautical Legal Research, explained that when an airport is inaugurated, the process is done in collaboration with the airlines. "They carry out market studies to see if it is profitable for them to fly from there, if it is convenient for them or if they are going to generate losses, not on a whim," he explained.

"Here it is the other way around. They are almost paying them to fly from there (AIFA), with discounts on the TUA (Airport Use Fee), on fuel, and airport services."

Source: El Universal

Juan Carlos Machorro


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