AMLO Issues Decree to Move Cargo Transport Out of Mexico City

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Despite repeated warnings from Mexico’s National Chamber of Air Transport (Canaero) and other specialists in the field that achieving a complete migration of cargo transport from the Mexico City International Airport (AICM) to other hubs within a period of just fours months would be both infeasible and overly costly, Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) issued a presidential decree late Thursday, Feb. 2, requiring all cargo service from the AICM to move out within a maximum period of 108 business days

The move is part of AMLO’s ongoing plan to force carriers and transport companies to use his pet megaproject, the geographically isolated and massively dysfunctional Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA), which opened in March of last year but has yet to become financially self-sufficient.

Cargo companies in Mexico had appealed to the president to extend the deadline for moving their operations to other airports from 108 to 180 working days, but López Obrador refused to hear their pleas.

The presidential decree, which was published in the Official Gazette of the Federation (DOF), said that the AICM is fully saturated both in terms of airspace and capacity of the terminal buildings, and added that cargo operations affect the operating capacity of the terminal infrastructure.

“Therefore, in order to safeguard the security of air operations and the integrity of the users of the AICM, it is necessary to transfer the cargo to other airports within the country,” the decree stated.

“The International Airport of Mexico City is hence closed for the operations of concessionaires and permit holders that exclusively provide regular and nonregular national and international air cargo transportation.”

Notwithstanding, on Friday, Feb. 3, AMLO’s own appointed director of the AIFA, Isidoro Pastor Román, said that the Felipe Ángeles facticity is already overextended in terms of international cargo usage by more than 40 percent.

“Most of the cargo that arrives at the AICM arrives in the belly of planes. Consequently, we are overextended in that department by more than 40 percent of our maximum capacity,” Pastor Román said.

He added that the AIFA could eventually receive up to 490,000 tons of international cargo, since it will have a total of 15 controlled areas, of which 12 are authorized for foreign cargo.

However, he said, currently only four of those facilities are up and running.

Eventually, Pastor Román said, the AIFA could receive up to 10 aircraft at the same time and five large cargo aircraft could land without space problems at the AIFA.

And on Friday, Feb. 3, the International International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents more than 300 carriers worldwide, issued a reported that, after inspecting the AIFA facilities last week, its representatives had determined that while the new airport might have the necessary infrastructure to do the job, it still lacks the equipment required to handle import and export cargo.

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