Mexico: AICM flights to be reduced

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A Mexican official overseeing the investigation into Saturday’s incident in which two planes nearly crashed on one of the runways at Mexico City’s International Airport (AICM) said Monday that operations at the overloaded terminal would be reduced by 25%.

Deputy Transport Minister Rogelio Jimenez Pons said he was concerned about a number recent air safety incidents.

“There is this instruction to reduce operations by 25% in 12 months. The airport has been saturated and in terrible condition for decades,” Jiminez Pons said in a media interview.

Delta Air Lines and Aeromexico celebrate five years of their transborder alliance.

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

He said the near-miss at one of Latin America’s busiest airports was most likely caused by an air traffic control mistake, noting Mexico has a shortfall of about 250 controllers, which means they work longer hours.

“The pilots were able to figure it out. We never put people’s safety at risk. Yes it was a frightening situation, but the defense of the pilots was put to the test and thank God, these people are prepared.”

The video of the incident involving the two jets from Mexican low-cost carrier Volaris surfaced social media after an international pilots association cited “several” safety concerns in the capital’s airspace.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador called for authorities to “put the airspace in order” and said the director of the Navigation Services in the Mexican Air Space (SENEAM), Victor Hernandez, had resigned.

Jose Alfredo Covarruvias, general secretary of Mexico’s Air Traffic Controllers Union, told Reuters the union had sent about 30 reports of safety incidents to the federal civil aviation agency.

“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.