Pilots Association Warns of Mexico City Airport Navigation System Failures

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The International Federation of Air Line Pilots Associations (IFALPA) issued an alert to its members on Friday, June 16, warning that over the course of the last year, various operators have reported a loss of the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) signal on approach to Mexico City International Airport (AICM).

The IFALPA said that interferences in the GNSS signal, such as those witnessed in the AICM, could cause navigation errors and lead to crashes.

It also noted that while the AICM failures were experienced by planes only during the approach phase of the flight, those navigational blackouts could also impact other airport procedures.

“The loss of a GPS signal affects area navigation arrivals and departures and can create numerous alerts for systems that depend on the accuracy of the aircraft’s position,” the IFALPA warned in a written statement.

“Over the course of the last year, several operators have reported the loss of GNSS signals in the Mexico City terminal area.”

The memo went on to say that “GNSS signal interference in the AICM could produce navigation errors and/or system failure.”

Operators of Navigation Services in the Mexican Air Space (Seneam), who were consulted on the matter, said that without operational precision equipment, pilots must rely on conventional navigation methods, which are much more prone to human error and require greater attention by air traffic controllers.

María Larriva, an expert in traffic control and air accidents, said that the Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) administration allegedly redesigned precision arrival procedures to provide more flight fly efficiently.

However, since 2021, when the use of these new procedures began, Larriva said, pilots began to report signal losses from the ground during their approach.

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