Mexico’s flagship carrier Aeromexico announced plans Wednesday to operate out of a brand new airport near the capital, the construction of which has been a priority for President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
The airline, which will still operate most flights out of Mexico City’s current hub, had previously planned to wait for the new airport’s opening before deciding whether to use it.
With two commercial runways built on a military air base outside the capital, Felipe Angeles International Airport is meant to take the pressure off the city’s Benito Juarez International, which handled 50.3 million passengers in 2019 before the pandemic.
The current hub’s location in eastern Mexico City is far more convenient for many residents of the capital than Felipe Angeles, which is located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of the capital’s historic district.
Named after a general in the Mexican revolution, the new airfield has been engulfed in controversy from the start.
After taking office in 2018, Lopez Obrador canceled another airport project launched by the previous government and already one-third complete.
He called the $13 billion project a “bottomless pit” rife with corruption and decided instead to contract the military to turn the Santa Lucia airbase into a second airport for the sprawling Mexican capital, at an estimated cost of $3.6 billion.
In addition to Aeromexico, two low-cost Mexican airlines — Volaris and Viva Aerobus — have announced plans to operate a small number of flights at the new airport, with most staying at Benito Juarez.
International carriers have not yet commented on whether they will also use the new airport, given Aeromexico’s decision.
American Airlines told AFP in January that they will maintain their 13 daily flights from the capital’s airport, with no changes planned for the time being.