The growing militarization of the country was on full display on the airport’s opening day. Notably absent were taxis for visitors to get home and businesses to sell them something to eat.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador inaugurated the new Mexico City airport on Monday despite his administration’s flagship infrastructure project remaining unfinished and without services.
The opening of Felipe Ángeles International Airport fulfills a major campaign promise by López Obrador, who canceled construction on an airport begun during the administration of his predecessor, Enrique Peña Nieto, in the dry lakebed of Texcoco, northeast of the city.
López Obrador has hailed the project, about 24 miles north of Mexico City’s center, as a way to lighten a load of air traffic on the saturated Benito Juárez International Airport.
Experts cite several insufficiencies that do not bode well for the new airport’s ability to meet this goal.
One major hurdle is the airport is currently international in name only. It has not yet been certified by Mexico’s Federal Agency of Civil Aviation (AFAC) as meeting safety standards set by the International Air Transportation Association and the International Civil Aviation Organization.
The most likely reason for the lack of certification was an administrative error, according to airport infrastructure specialist Fernando Gómez.
“Somebody must have forgotten to do it in time,” Gómez said.
AFAC did not respond to Courthouse News’ request for a statement.
As a result, major international airlines have not registered to fly to the new airport. Some, like American Airlines, have even expressed their desire to remain at Benito Juárez.
Without certifications, international airlines run the risk of not being covered by their insurance in the event of an accident.
“No airline in its right mind would run a risk of this magnitude,” Gómez said.
Major U.S. carriers were reticent to talk about the prospect of flying to Felipe Ángeles when and if it becomes certified. Delta declined Courthouse News’ request for comment, and United did not respond.
Source: Courthouse News