Last Monday, President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced his plans to cancel the construction of NAIM in Texcoco when he assumes power after a controversial public consultation. The new airport will be built in the Santa Lucia military base instead. Mexico’s construction and aviation industries reaffirmed their support for continuing the project in Texcoco and criticized the operational difficulties of simultaneously operating AICM, AIT and the projected NAIM project in Santa Lucia (AISL).
Grupo Aeroportuario de la Ciudad de México said construction works will continue until the last day of the Peña Nieto administration and the incoming Minister of Communications and Transport, Javier Jiménez Espriú, said the project’s cancellation will take place respecting the rights of investors. The financial markets took the news hard and airlines and airport groups listed on the BMV lost MX$10.3 billion following the cancellation announcement. CANAERO reaffirmed its stance in favor of keeping NAIM in Texcoco and IATA warned about the impact of shifting this project to Santa Lucia. Mexico’s strongest union CTM ponders going on strike as 40,000 jobs could be cut.
In international news, the catastrophic crash landing of a B737MAX operated by Lion Air in Indonesian waters resulted in the loss of 189 lives. The year 2017 was the safest for commercial aviation as there were no passenger deaths in large aircraft. But a series of accidents including the crash of a 29-year old B737 operated by Cubana de Aviación in May 2018 and a series of turboprop accidents have changed this pattern.
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Reactions to NAIM Cancellation
According to Javier Jiménez Espriú, incoming Minister of Communications and Transport, the cancellation of NAIM in Texcoco will be carried out respecting the rights of investors.
Airport groups and airlines listed on the BMV lost MX$10.3 billion in the first day after the cancellation announcement.
IATA warned that the decision to cancel NAIM in Texcoco will delay the development of Mexico’s aviation industry by anywhere between five and 10 years.
Workers of NAIM in Texcoco could go on strike. CTM is analyzing the consequences of the cancellation for 40,000 workers.
Operational Challenges in the Valley of Mexico
According to Monex, the cancellation of NAIM in Texcoco would force GAP, ASUR and OMA to adjust 331 flight operations to Mexico City, which would impact Aeroméxico, Volaris, Interjet and VivaAerobus.
Operating AICM and AIT will double costs of airlines, according to CANAERO.
Global Aviation Thrust
Boeing 737 MAX of Indonesian airline Lion Air crashed at sea with 189 people on board. Rescue services presume there were no survivors.
Mexican carriers’ passenger traffic lost dynamism between January and September 2018 compared to previous years.
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