Photo: John McArthur/Unsplash

By MARK LORENZANA

Flights between Simón Bolívar International Airport in Venezuela operated by Línea Aérea Conviasa — the flagship carrier and largest airline of Venezuela — and Mexico’s new Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA) in Mexico City have not been registered, despite thousands of Venezuelan nationals arriving there since March.

Although there have already been three Conviasa flights from Caracas, Venezuela, to the AIFA since the official opening of the airport in March — inaugurated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) —  until the end of April, none of these flights have been registered in the Federal Civil Aviation Agency.

The lack of registration of any regular or chartered international flights between the two airports means that there are no accurate figures on the actual number of passengers that these flights have moved, although the Secretariat of the Interior (SeGob) has reported that 4,438 Venezuelans have entered Mexico since March 4.

Operations in the AIFA have not exactly been smooth sailing since its inauguration. On March 22, the second day of its operations, passengers were advised that their flights from the AIFA would instead leave out of Mexico City’s Benito Juárez International Airport (AICM). Subsequently, on May 2, the AMLO administration announced that it would restrict incoming and outgoing flights at AICM to a maximum of 50 per hour, from the original hourly 61 arrivals and departures.

In May, a number of national airline carriers servicing the AICM have already agreed to move some of their flights to the AIFA. Specifically, beginning July 2022, Mexican airline carriers Aeroméxico, Volaris and Viva Aerobus will start transferring 110 of their operations to the new airport.

The AIFA has been riddled with problems since its opening, chief among them being the lack of accessibility, poor signage, chaotic coordination, canceled flights, complicated landings and take-offs and, most significantly, possible safety concerns for arriving and departing aircraft.

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