Convoluted Timetable Changes Cause Chaos at AICM
By KELIN DILLON
On Sunday, March 26, new timetable scheduling standards at the Mexico City International Airport (AICM) wreaked havoc on passengers traveling through the Mexican capital’s primary transportation hub, causing the facility’s digital timetable to become essentially nonfunctional and unusable in its wake.
Rather than use the airlines’ travel times, which are updated accordingly to take common delays like weather, staffing problems and mechanical issues into account, the new AICM timetable standards only display flights’ originally scheduled departure times on the screens with a “delayed” flag, leaving confusing discrepancies between the AICM’s exhibited schedules and the departure time listed on passengers’ tickets.
As a result, thousands of passengers were forced to refer to airlines’ proprietary applications or consult with the facility’s staff to ascertain the actual departure time of their flights.
According to a press release from the AICM, these changes were purportedly made to improve the punctuality of the facility’s operations, which has been notoriously unreliable over recent years.
“This measure will allow the AICM Operational Control Center to make the corresponding updates and corrections, and thus streamline and regularize flights, in order to avoid setbacks for the thousands of passengers who will travel during the 2023 summer season, which went into effect on Sunday,” said the AICM statement, noting that the timetable changes were approved back in the December 2022 during the 12th Ordinary Session of the Operation and Schedules Committee, and that AICM airline operators were notifed with sufficient time to adapt to the changes.
Despite the AICM’s staunch proponent of the policy’s simplicity, Sunday’s travelers were left in a lurch in the resulting confusion of the change – so much so that some of Mexico’s most prominent airlines took to their social media accounts to clarify the situation to their clients.
“The flight departure screens at the Mexico City International Airport will not be synchronized with the actual departure time of your flight,” Mexican national airline Volaris wrote on its Twitter account, recommending that passengers ignore the AICM screens and instead check the “flight status” section of the Volaris application for their flight’s true departure time.
Still, according to aviation sector analyst Fernando Gómez, these changes could ultimately be positive for the airport’s operational efficiency, though the confusing rollout of the policy, especially during Mexico’s busiest tourism season, could have negative effects on the AICM’s reputation.
“It is positive that they are looking for airlines to stick as closely as possible to their scheduled hours, but this cannot be achieved overnight,” concluded Gómez.