Felipe Ángeles Airport Hemorrhaging Money with No End in Sight
PULSE NEWS MEXICO
Between March 21 and April 21, the new Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA) registered a net loss of 22,902,811 pesos, according to Mexican government statistics.
During its first 30 days of operation, the air terminal, located in Zumpango, in the State of Mexico (EdoMéx) reported revenues of 308,331 pesos. However, the cost of operating the AIFA during that period was 75 times higher, at 23,211,143 pesos, represent a loss of 22.9 million for the month.
In other words, during its first month of service and with only a dozen flights a day, the AIFA, one of the top priority works of leftist President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), cost Mexico’s Treasury 75 times more than what it brought in in income.
That translates into a daily loss for the government of 738,000 pesos, according to the figures provided by the National Defense Secretariat and the AIFA.
The airport, located in the old military air base in Santa Lucía, will soon complete three months with the exact same number of flights, so the loss, if the same operating cost is maintained, will be for its first trimester of operations nearly 70 million pesos.
The AIFA was built with public resources to the tune of about 75 billion pesos, without taking into account the cost of the cancellation of the New Mexico International Airport (NAIM) in Texcoco.
By presidential decree, all profits from its operations (if there ever are any) will be used to pay military pensions.
Pablo Casas Lías, director of the National Institute of Aeronautical Legal Research (INIJA), said that the profitability of the airport is in doubt, since public resources continue to be used for its maintenance and, in return, the Treasury will not benefit from any income.
“The AIFA is going to be a bottomless pit for the Treasury because, since it is not self-sustaining from an economic point of view and does not generate enough income for its operation, it will be dependent on the budget that the federal government grants it,” he said.
This economic loss will continue, added Casas, if the number of flights using the AIFA are not substantially increased.
In addition, the profitability of the airport has another challenge, since the government will have a stimulus plan to attract airlines to the AIFA and migrate around 20 percent of flights from the AICM.
Until now, only Volaris, which will have eventually 100 weekly operations in the Felipe Ángeles, will obtain incentives in airport costs that will be 40 percent lower than those charged at the Mexico City International Airport (AICM).
“The government is betting on AIFA, although it has another competitor: Toluca, where there will also be incentives of up to 70 percent and where there is better infrastructure and established communication routes, not like in Santa Lucía,” said Casas.