Mexico probes near-collision of planes, plans to cut flights at main airport

An instruction to reduce flight operations by 25 percent in 12 months is given to authorities as airport has been in a terrible condition for decades, an official said, as reported by Reuters. 

Mexico probes near-collision of planes, plans to cut flights at main airport

A video of a near-miss at Mexico City International Airport (AICM) on May 7 showed one plane coming into land just over another one waiting to take off on the same runway. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said the AICM was being investigated. 

Concerns over reports of a number of recent incidents prompted Rogelio Jimenez Pons, deputy transport minister, to propose a halt of operations at the nearby newly-built Felipe Angeles International Airport (AIFA) as a temporary solution.

"If the investigation tells us to do that (stop operations at AIFA), we will do so. Security is above any other type of interest," he said during an interview with local media. "There is this instruction to reduce operations by 25 percent in 12 months. The airport has been saturated and in terrible condition for decades," Pons said. 

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He said to implement the reduction, flights would be diverted to other airports, such as the nearby, newly built Felipe Angeles International Airport.

Video of the weekend incident appeared to show two jets from Mexican low-cost carrier Volaris nearly colliding. It surfaced online days after a report from an international pilots association cited "several" safety concerns in the capital’s air space.

On May 8, the carrier’s chief executive, Enrique Beltranena, said on Twitter he had called for internal and external investigations. "Thanks to the training of our pilots and their impeccable monitoring of the processes, no passenger or crew member was at risk during the situation reported at the AICM the night of May 7," Beltranena said.

Lopez Obrador called for a meeting to 'put the airspace in order.' "We've got to see what factors led to this error, to make sure above all that it doesn't happen again," said Covarruvias, who also welcomed the investigation and Hernandez`s resignation. "If it happens again, it's not an accident," he added.

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Senator Ricardo Monreal, a prominent member of the ruling MORENA party mentioned the incident when speaking to reporters and called on heads of Mexico’s transportation and civil aviation authorities to testify in Congress.

He also called on lawmakers to look into recent troubles at the airport, one of Latin America's busiest. "Like thousands of people, I’ve experienced flight delays, but this week they got worse," Monreal said. "The legislative power should take action to understand the causes and support a solution." 

It was intended to relieve the overburdened Mexico City International Airport, but Reuters found that the airport was still under construction almost a month after its inauguration and it offered few daily flights.

In May 2021, the United States downgraded Mexico's aviation safety rating, which bars Mexican carriers from adding new U.S. flights and limits airlines' ability to carry out joint marketing agreements.

(With inputs from Reuters) 

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