by Kylie Madre
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – The chief executive of Mexican airline AeroMexico told the press on Wednesday that restrictions on flights from the capital’s main airport will extend longer than planned due to reforms.
In August, Mexican authorities said they had reached an agreement with airlines to reduce flights from Benito Juarez International Airport by 15% during peak hours of the winter season.
“It seems unlikely that (the reforms) will be done within six months,” Chief Executive Andres Konisa said after a panel session at a business conference. “It’s a huge project, from Terminal 2 to the taxi lanes,” he said.
The central Mexico City cuts come as Mexican airlines feel pressure to open or expand flights from the six-month-old Felipe Angeles International Airport on the outskirts of the city, one of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s major projects.
Mexico City has long suffered from excessive saturation in the current hub, and Lopez Obrador and officials have touted Felipe Angeles and the forgotten Toluca Airport to the west of the city as solutions.
“These repairs are important because investments in airport maintenance have been missing for a long time,” Konisa said. “If (the restrictions) have to be extended for another season, we will.”
Meanwhile, the executive said that Mexican airlines will focus on flights from other large Mexican cities such as Guadalajara and Monterrey.
Conesa said Aeromexico’s expansion plans also depend on the US Federal Aviation Administration’s Tier 2 designation for Mexico, a reduction made more than a year ago that currently prohibits Mexican airlines from opening new routes to the United States. “The damage this has done is great.”