Volaris and Viva Aerobus have confirmed their intentions of operating flights out of Mexico City’s new international airport, which is currently under construction in the Military Base of Santa Lucía. While Viva Aerobus hasn’t yet confirmed which routes it will operate, Volaris is already selling tickets on its first two routes. Let’s investigate further.
A new airport, new flights
The Mexican government is currently building the Felipe Angeles International Airport (AIFA) north of Mexico City. It is retrofitting a military base and turning it into a mixed military/civilian hub set to open on March 21, 2022.
Less than six months into its official inauguration, no airline had announced its intention of operating out of AIFA. Nevertheless, that changed this week. Volaris became the first company to announce new routes from this airport.
In a statement, Volaris said,
“Volaris announced today its decision to launch commercial operations from Felipe Angeles International Airport, starting on March 21, 2022. The cities that Volaris will serve from this new airport are Tijuana (TIJ) and Cancun (CUN), each with a daily flight. Tickets are available now.”
Prior to Volaris’ announcement, other carriers had shown their interest in operating out of AIFA, but no flights were confirmed. Among the airlines planning to use this new hub are the Venezuelan Conviasa and the Mexican regional carriers Aeromar and TAR.
One day later, Viva Aerobus confirmed it would also launch flights from AIFA. The airline’s CEO, Juan Carlos Zuazua, said,
“We’ve been working closely with the National Defense Secretariat (the Government entity building the airport) and watching the airport and airspace development closely. In the next few days, they will publish the fees to operate commercial flights and, as soon as that’s available, we will be able to establish our services. But yes, we will fly from AIFA, domestic routes.”
Both carriers will continue to fly from Mexico City International Airport as well.
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Who will use the new AIFA?
The construction of the AIFA has become a political tool in Mexico. The flying public is deeply divided between those who support and loathe the construction of this airport. Remember, the current Mexican government scrapped a different project to build this particular hub.
Nevertheless, the commercial airlines in Mexico believe there’s an area of opportunity in AIFA. Volaris’ CEO, Enrique Beltranena, said,
“We think that AIFA in itself has a market around the airport and has approximately the same size as other cities like Aguascalientes and Queretaro, for example (around 4.8 million potential clients). So we see some virtues in itself in the population around the airport and probabilities of doing business with that population.”
Nonetheless, the new airport lacks the ground infrastructure to connect with Mexico City easily. While a new urban transportation system and highways are being built, they probably won’t be ready in time for the airport’s inauguration.
Who will not use the new AIFA?
Several airlines have already stated that they won’t fly from Felipe Angeles International Airport. Most of them continue to see Mexico City International Airport as the hub for the metropolis.
Among the airlines that have rejected operating at AIFA are Air Canada, American Airlines, and Copa Airlines. More notably, Aeromexico is planning to strengthen its position at Mexico City International Airport instead.
For instance, Aeromexico announced today it will move some domestic operations from Mexico City’s Terminal 2 to Terminal 1. While it is too early to determine what the future of AIFA will be, most likely, it will become a point-to-point airport rather than an actual hub.
What do you think of Volaris routes? Would you be interested in flying from Felipe Angeles International Airport? Let us know in the comments below.