Ever since AMLO took office, Mexico’s domestic airline industry is in shambles, plagued by safety problems, a ratings downgrade by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, and vandalism.
This week alone, passengers missed connections because thieves cut the fiber optic cables leading into the Mexico City airport, forcing immigration authorities to return to using slow paper forms.
The internet outage Wednesday came almost one month after aviation and transportation authorities were forced to suspend medical, physical, and license renewal exams until 2023 because the Transportation Department’s computer systems had been hacked.
After a near-miss between two planes at the Mexico City airport on May 7, things just got worse. Authorities revealed that one of the airport’s main terminals is sinking and needs emergency work to shore it up.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s answer has been to propose allowing foreign airlines to fly domestic routes. But the safety downgrade — the FAA dropped Mexico from Category 1, which most countries have, to the lower Category 2 in 2021 — prevents Mexican airlines from opening new routes to the United States.
Thus, Mexico’s struggling airlines face competition in their home market, with no access to new international routes. Experts say all of it looks like a disaster for domestic aviation, a sector López Obrador had placed special emphasis on developing.
“It is not very encouraging for investment or the prospect of recovering Category 1 in the short or medium term,” aviation legal expert Rodrigo Soto-Morales wrote in the trade journal a21, referring to the internet outage and hacking.
“What we do know is that we are stalled,” Soto-Morales said in an interview, referring to the process of recovering a top safety rating.
Authorities said the Mexico City airport internet cables were cut by thieves who mistakenly thought the fiber optic cables were saleable copper. They stressed it happened outside airport property but, in fact, it was a cable conduit that leads directly into the airport from less than a mile away.
Source: El Financiero