By MARK LORENZANA
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has not used the Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA) — one of his controversial pet megaprojects — more than six months after its inauguration.
In a review by Mexican daily newspaper Reforma of AIFA operations and presidential tours, on at least a dozen occasions, López Obrador has preferred to travel through the Mexico City International Airport (AICM) instead of the AIFA — this, despite the fact that the destinations AMLO had traveled to are a flight away from the new airport.
The list of destinations that López Obrador could have flown from the AIFA include Cancún, Quintana Roo; Villahermosa, Tabasco; Monterrey, Nuevo Leon; Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco; and Tijuana, Baja California.
On May 1 of this year, AMLO traveled from the AICM to Villahermosa for the commemoration of Labor Day and the inauguration of another of his pet projects — the Dos Bocas refinery. The same day, he returned from Tabasco to Mexico City.
A week later, on May 13, he flew to Monterrey, and that same day he returned to Mexico City from Guadalajara. Subsequently, he has used the AICM regularly to fly to or from Villahermosa, Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, Monterrey and Tijuana.
In the last several weeks, López Obrador has chosen to use military helicopters to move around. For example, he boarded military choppers in the southeast of Mexico to check up on his other controversial project, the Tren Maya, and to visit indigenous communities in the central part of the country.
In July, when asked if he had already used the AIFA, López Obrador said that he will use “when he can” what he considered “the best airport in Latin America,” and argued that he has not flown from there so as “not to make a show.”
Again, on Sept. 26, at his daily morning press conference in the National Palace, AMLO was asked the same question — if he had already flown from the AIFA.
“Not yet, but when I can. I mean, I’m not going to put on a show,” López Obrador said. “Right now there’s no need. Everything in due time.”
Mexican business-focused daily newspaper El Financiero, on Sept. 26, reported that Isidoro Pastor, general director of the AIFA, scaled down his projection of transporting 2.4 million passengers this year to 700,000, which is 71 percent less than his original goal.
The AIFA has likewise lowered its original projection of moving 5 million passengers by the end of 2023 to 1 million passengers, 80 percent less than originally planned.