Airlines using Mexico City hub agree to temporary 15% cut in flights

Planes of the Mexican airline Aeromexico in hangars at Benito Juarez International airport in Mexico City
The logo of Mexican airline Aeromexico is pictured on a plane's tail at the hangars of the airline in the Benito Juarez International airport in Mexico City, Mexico June 28,2022 REUTERS/Luis Cortes/File Photo

MEXICO CITY, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Airlines using the Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City have agreed to temporarily reduce flights at the hub from 61 per hour to 52 during peak hours, starting Oct. 31, the country's transportation ministry said on Thursday.

The cut, which is almost a 15% reduction and still pending final approval, follows previous flight caps at the airport announced earlier this year, as the country alters the capital's airspace in an attempt to reduce flight saturation at the hub.

The ministry said in a statement the measure - affecting flights from 7 a.m. to 10:59 p.m. local time (1200 GMT to 1559 GMT) - would be implemented for the winter season, without specifying a closing date.

In May, authorities announced a measure in which some flights would be moved to the newly constructed Felipe Angeles Airport (AIFA) on the outskirts of Mexico City, while commercial flight slots at the Benito Juarez Airport would be capped. read more

The move came after a video showing two planes belonging to Mexican carrier Volaris almost crashing at the Benito Juarez Airport (AICM) went viral in May. read more

In recent months, some airlines have increased their flight offerings at the AIFA and the Toluca International Airport to the west of Mexico City.

The agreement was reached at a meeting attended by a majority of the airlines using the AICM, the ministry said.

Mexican airline Viva Aerobus was among those present and agreed to reduce flights, a spokesperson said.

"The AICM's infrastructural conditions require the temporary relief to (carry out repairs)," Viva Aerobus said.

A Volaris spokesperson did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. An executive of the airline on Wednesday said Volaris would reduce flights at the AICM by 10% in August and 10% in September, without mentioning a further reduction.

An Aeromexico spokesman also did not respond to a request for comment, but said in June the airline had "submitted to judicial review aspects related to saturation and studies on the operational capacity" of the AICM.

Reporting by Kylie Madry; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell, Christopher Cushing and Rashmi Aich

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Kylie Madry is a headline news reporter covering business, politics and breaking news for all of Latin America. She's based out of the Reuters office in Mexico City, where she was previously a freelance journalist and translator working on award-winning podcasts, books about Mexico's drug lords and stories ranging from the fight for clean water to the millions spent on the city's surveillance system. Kylie is originally from Dallas, Texas.