By MARK LORENZANA
The Mexican federal government’s decision to reduce slots (takeoff and landing times) at the Mexico City International Airport (AICM) for the winter season continues to take its toll on travelers.
Volaris, a popular Mexican low-cost airline based in Mexico City, canceled 74 flights — “operational adjustments,” according to Volaris — at the AICM between Tuesday, Nov. 1, and Wednesday, Nov. 2.
“Due to operational adjustments in response to the reduction of slots (landing and takeoff times) for the winter season implemented by the Mexico City International Airport (AICM), Volaris has seen the need to cancel some scheduled flights,” the airline said in an official statement.
As early as May 31 of this year, Volaris presented before Federal Judge Celina Rico an amparo (habeas corpus injunction) to reduce the limit of operations per hour at the AICM, which was ordered on May 12 by Mexico’s Federal Civil Aviation Agency (AFAC).
Rico, however, considered that the case was related to the Felipe Angeles International Airport (AIFA), and sent it to her colleague Sandra de Jesús Zuñiga, who handles cases for the AIFA, but the injunction filed by Volaris has yet to be admitted.
Aeroméxico, the country’s flag carrier, likewise filed an amparo, but a decision has yet to be handed down.
One of the most affected destinations due to the flight cancellations by Volaris is Cancun, the popular tourist city in the southeast Mexican coastal state of Quintana Roo. The adjustment in the slots of landing and takeoff times at the AICM caused the cancellation on Tuesday of 11 Volaris flights to the Cancun International Airport, and an additional nine flights to the Cozumel International Airport.
As a result of the cancellations, travelers had to spend long hours waiting for their flights to be rescheduled, which prompted them to post complaints on social networks against Volaris. The complaints on social media detailed that people had to wait for more than six hours, without airline personnel providing them with information about what would happen to their flights.
On Tuesday alone, a total of 40 flights were canceled by Volaris — from the AICM to Cozumel, Cancun, Tijuana, Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta — according to the AICM website.
Mexico’s Federal Consumer Protection Agency (Profeco), on Wednesday, Nov. 2, assured the public that Volaris provides legal protection for those affected by the cancelled flights, although the agency said that as of noon on Tuesday, it had no record of official complaints filed against the carrier. The Attorney General’s Office (FDR) has likewise echoed Profeco’s statement, and said that the low-cost airline assures legal protection to passengers affected by flight cancellations.
For its part, Volaris issued a statement on its Twitter account, asking those passengers affected by flight cancellations to get in touch with the airline.
“If you currently have a canceled flight, send us your full name, email and reservation code privately so we can review the details,” the airline tweeted.
Curiously, Aeroméxico reportedly lost more slots at the AICM than Volaris, the majority of which went to Volaris’ direct competitor, fellow low-cost carrier Viva Aerobus.