Industry Decries Cost Increases At Mexico City International Airport

Mexico City International Airport
Credit: GmbH & Co. KG / Alamy Stock Photo

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is criticizing a planned rate increase at Mexico City International Airport (AICM) set to take effect in 2024.

IATA said AICM aims to increase airport services by an average of 77% in 2024 and warned that decision would result in an increase in passenger airfare, negatively affect airlines, and put the country’s competitiveness at risk. The airport services are defined as including landing, apron, aircraft overnight, and boarding rooms.

The association said that AICM’s average airport use fee of MXP503.22 ($29) for national services and MXP955.49 for international is already one of the most expensive in the world.

“Continuing to make Mexico’s main air hub more expensive is contrary to the actions that federal authorities have taken to ensure that other airports in the country reduce their rates and make their costs more efficient,” IATA said.

Latin American airline association ALTA echoed IATA’s concerns, warning the increase would position AICM as one of the most expensive airports in Latin America and the Caribbean.

IATA is asking for a reconsideration of the planned rate increases for 2024 while expressing concern about deterioration of facilities and levels of service at AICM.

Mexico’s navy recently took control of the airport along with two other companies—Mexico City Airport Group (GACM) and Mexico City Airport Services (SACM). Mexico’s Infrastructure, Communications and Transport Ministry (SICT) was previously in charge of those entities.

In August, Mexican authorities imposed new limits on operations at the airport to 43 per hour as of late October. The move followed a reduction in hourly operations to 52 from 61 in 2022.

Subsequently, the government said the cuts would start on Jan. 8, 2024, to support passengers that have already purchased tickets and allow more time “for the complex process in assigning slots in accordance with best international practices.”

This year has been eventful for Mexico’s aviation industry. In addition to the operational cuts at AICM, the government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador required the closure of cargo operations at the airport and required the transfer of those services to Felipe Ángeles International Airport, a former military base which opened as a reliever airport for AICM in 2022.

In September, the U.S. restored Mexico’s safety rating after issuing a downgrade in May 2021. Since the upgrade, Mexican airlines have had the ability to restore growth to the U.S.

Mexico’s government is also working to establish a state-run airline, reviving the Mexicana brand.

Lori Ranson

Lori covers North American and Latin airlines for Aviation Week and is also a Senior Analyst for CAPA - Centre for Aviation.