In his morning conference, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador assured that the Felipe Ángeles International Airport was inaugurated 100% in connectivity from Mexico City, as well as in services inside and outside the air terminal.
“I think the airport is 100% complete. Planes can land 24 hours a day, take off and arrive 24 hours a day, with modern radar systems. It is just a matter of airlines increasing their trips”, he stated.
However, on the first day of operations of the new airport, passengers experienced complications in the transfer, confusion due to the service offered by trucking companies, improvised commercial premises and failures in amenities that we describe below.
1. Telescopic arms.
Despite the installation of telescopic arms in most positions at the Felipe Ángeles International Airport, these were not used on the first day of operations, since passengers, when called for boarding on the first six flights, had to walk through an exterior corridor of the maneuvering yard and later boarded through a stairway.
2. Failures in toilets.
Although the design of the airport contemplates 38 themed restrooms, including Mexican cinema, wrestlers, magical towns and charrería, during the inauguration several did not operate and some did not fully function, since users could only use half of the restrooms and sinks.
AIFA cleaning staff informed users that they could not use certain toilets when going to the toilets. In many of them the sensor did not work, so those who wanted to use them had to activate them manually.
Where they were not working, elements of the national guard or military were placed at the entrances to ask users for their understanding for not offering the service.
3. Electric power in amenities.
As in any airport, there are different stations where users can charge their electronic devices; however, most did not work on this first day, especially in the last waiting area, where passengers sought to recharge their cell phone battery, consumed mainly by the poor reception of the telephone companies.
Another of the services offered by the AIFA are the dozens of tables with electrical connections for passengers to charge their computers while they wait for their flight, but the surprise is that they did not work either; Some tables even had power inputs, but there was no electrical installation to supply them.
The area where there was electricity was notorious, since there was a greater concentration of people.
4. Incomplete commercial premises
On the official website of the Felipe Ángeles airport there are more than 15 companies from different lines of business, including food and shops.
However, most of the premises were not 100% conditioned. An example was an international franchise selling donuts and coffee, which opened its doors without having the necessary infrastructure to operate, such as shelves, refrigerators, card payment, and even the interior of the premises was in black work.
The same thing happened with a convenience store, which only had refrigerators, displays of fried foods and sweet bread.
5. VIP lounges
One of the services offered at different airports are the exclusive waiting rooms for users who are part of a loyalty program or who pay to have a membership that offers them executive amenities, food and beverage service while they wait for their flight.
On this first day of operation, only two companies offering this service were observed; VIPort Lounges and The Grand Lounge Elite, which were equipped with synthetic grass, music, non-alcoholic beverages and sandwiches, and one of them even offered tacos al pastor.
These VIP room services were not installed as is customary for this type of company in large areas, but in small spaces intended for commercial premises within the last waiting and boarding rooms.
6. No main entrance
On the opening day of the AIFA, lost people were not lacking, since not only the direction to get there was confusing. The navigation systems traced the route to the main entrance, near the passenger terminal, which does not yet exist.
In Santa Lucía two predominant accesses were planned; the main one that connects with the Tonanitla Junction, and the Circuito Exterior Mexiquense and the San Jerónimo access, on the opposite side.
The first one is not ready yet. Alfredo del Mazo, governor of the State of Mexico, said that there had been problems with the beams, so the work was delayed. This is the fastest connection road with Mexico City and the one that goes directly to the parking lot of the passenger terminal.
Meanwhile the second option is used. Its disadvantage is that from the point of entry to the boarding area it takes 15 to 20 minutes to travel on board a vehicle. There is no way to get there on foot.
7. Connection projects
Between the government of Mexico City and the Secretariat of Infrastructure, Communications and Transportation (SICT) 17 connection works are being developed, of which the Suburban Train and the connection of the Mexiquense Circuit with the Tonanitla Junction stand out.
Both are the most important in the project, the first for its capacity to transfer people en masse, and the second for being the most direct connection with the AIFA, but it arrived on March 21 without either being ready.
The Suburban Train is scheduled for the end of 2023. The concession company has stated that they have faced problems with the release of the right of way, which has delayed the works. When you are ready, you will go from Lechería to Jaltocan and to the Felipe Ángeles International Airport.
8. Transportation to AIFA
In the absence of public transport routes to connect the Santa Lucía airport with Mexico City, the federal government announced that it had set up 14 connection points where “vans” would take visitors.
For March 21, no information was given about hours, specific location or companies that would offer the services. Most of the services available (from companies such as Estrella Roja and ADO) had only one scheduled run in Sprinter vehicles, with less than 20 places and at a single time.