EconomyFinancialEmpty: In its early days, AIFA only had 102...

Empty: In its early days, AIFA only had 102 passengers per day

The three national airlines that flew from Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA) from its first day of operations transported an average of 102 passengers during the first 11 days since its opening. However, traffic on some routes was better than others, prompting some carriers to make their first adjustments at the airport.

According to data from the Federal Civil Aviation Agency (AFAC), the AIFA route to Cancun -operated by Volaris- was the one that generated the most traffic, with 3,657 passengers served in 11 days, with an average of 159 passengers per day. This route was followed by AIFA-Tijuana, also from the airline piloted by Enrique Beltranena, which had 3,323 passengers with an average of 151 daily passengers.

These were followed by the two routes operated by Viva Aerobus to Monterrey and Guadalajara, while the two Aeroméxico flights to Mérida and Villahermosa had the lowest performance. The case of Villahermosa stands out, which had an average of just 20.1 daily passengers.

In this period, it seems that the capacity of the aircraft has been in accordance with the demand of each route.

In the case of Cancun, for example, Volaris operates an Airbus A320, with a capacity of around 180 seats, of which the airline filled 88% on average. Similarly, Aeroméxico has operated its route to Mérida with an Embraer E190 of around 88 seats, which has filled an average of 78%.

In this regard, Fernando Gómez Suárez, an air sector analyst, considers that the performance of routes such as Cancún and Tijuana responds to the fact that, even before the pandemic, there were 10 largest routes in the country, and that to date they have exceeded the traffic of pre-COVID-19 passengers.

“Always with the incorporation of new routes it is trial and error. Normally, previous market studies are always carried out; at the AIFA I suppose they would have done them and stipulated those routes because with others it would be more complicated”, he explains.

This would also explain why Aeroméxico made adjustments 12 days after starting operations at AIFA, going from a daily flight to three weekly frequencies in Villahermosa, and incorporating a new flight to Puerto Vallarta starting in May, which, contrary to Villahermosa, it was among the most in-demand routes before the pandemic.

In fact, they are the five routes with the highest passenger traffic before the pandemic from the center of the country, while Puerto Vallarta ranked eighth in the top 10 connections in 2019, according to AFAC data.

In the short term, the panorama does not seem to encourage airlines to open new routes. According to data from the OAG platform, between April and the end of July, airlines have an average of six daily flights scheduled, compared to nearly 900 daily flights at the Mexico City International Airport, taking into account the two flights of the Venezuelan airline Conviasa, which did not report traffic data to AFAC.

For Gómez Suárez, it is likely that the airlines will maintain their current presence in the AIFA as long as they are not offered incentives to fly at the airport, coupled with a promotion of the complex. “If we continue to wait passively, doing nothing, it will not be achieved,” he concluded.

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