Mexico to cap flights to main airport, use new hub more after incidents

Credit: REUTERS/Luis Echeverria

Adds details on government's plans

MEXICO CITY, May 10 (Reuters) - Mexico's government said on Tuesday it would cap operations at Mexico City's main airport and begin moving dozens of flights to a newly-built hub after a string of incidents fed concern about air safety at one of Latin America's busiest intersections.

After meetings with airlines and aeronautical authorities, the government said it wanted to schedule more than 100 daily flights at the new Felipe Angeles International Airport north of the capital, which is so far running a fraction of that number.

In a statement, it said the first phase of that process would begin on Aug. 15, and the second, a month later.

Furthermore, no new flights to the capital's existing Benito Juarez International Airport would be authorized from now on, and there would be no increase in operations beyond slots already assigned for the summer 2022 season, it added.

Charter and national cargo flights will be immediately moved to the Felipe Angeles airport, the government said.

Air traffic safety has come under increased scrutiny since footage posted on social media showed a plane on Saturday coming in to land at the Benito Juarez airport just over another one that was waiting to take off on the same runway.

The director of the Navigation Services in the Mexican Air Space resigned after the incident, which had followed others.

An official at Mexico's Air Traffic Controllers Union told Reuters this week the union had sent about 30 reports of safety incidents to the federal civil aviation agency.

However, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said earlier on Tuesday that recent incidents had nothing to do with the redesign of the airspace after the opening of Felipe Angeles.

The Felipe Angeles hub, whose construction Lopez Obrador ordered after he canceled a partly built new airport east of the city, officially opened in March.

Felipe Angeles was intended to relieve pressure on the Benito Juarez airport. However, Reuters found that the new airport was still under construction almost a month after its inauguration and was offering few daily flights.

(Reporting by Kylie Madry and Anthony Esposito; Writing by Brendan O'Boyle; Editing by Howard Goller)


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