Judge ordered to suspend the redesign of airspace in the Valley of Mexico
A federal judge ordered a temporary halt to the redesign of the airspace of the Valley of Mexico, a task that is in charge of the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation and Navigation Services in the Mexican Airspace (SENEAM). On April 23, a provisional suspension was granted to an inhabitant of the State of Mexico who said that this redesign affects her interests because it lacks environmental studies.
The provisional suspension is granted to the effect that the indicated authorities are ordered to immediately suspend the execution of the redesign of the Area of the Valley of Mexico that they exposed in the communiqués 045-2021 and 046-2021 and proceed to establish the routes previously established.
On March 25, the first phase of the redesign of the airspace in the Valley of Mexico was launched, which includes operations at the international airports of Mexico City and Toluca. The airspace restructuring includes the application of Performance-Based Navigation (PBN), which allows aircraft to navigate more precise, direct, and efficient routes.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), PBN is based on Area Navigation (RNAV), a navigation method that allows aircraft to operate on any desired flight path, i.e., it allows routes to be optimized according to traffic conditions without reducing safety. According to the SCT, the redesign of the airspace could translate into a reduction of up to 16 percent in the average flight time operating in the metropolitan airport system, savings that will also help reduce aircraft fuel consumption.
However, on April 20, José Alfredo Covarrubias, former secretary-general of the National Air Traffic Controllers Union (Sinacta), told El Financiero that a few days ago two planes traveling in opposite directions were at risk of colliding. In a press release, the SCT explained that neither the head of Operational Safety and Navigation Services in the Mexican Airspace (Seneam) nor the Federal Civil Aviation Agency (AFAC) have received any report "about a possible aircraft collision or incident of this magnitude in the Valley of Mexico, by pilots or any airline company".
So far, there is no report of any serious incident linking the alleged event with the redesign of Mexico City's airspace, according to the Operational Safety area, and it does not indicate time, place, or manner. The SCT added that any event or serious incident must be reported by the obligation to the AFAC, which is responsible for carrying out the corresponding investigations and investigations in accordance with national and international regulations. The training provided to air traffic control personnel was sufficient to familiarize them with the redesign and the new procedures to be followed, hence the certainty that they are trained to respond in case of any situation inherent to air traffic services.
On the other hand, the agency explained that José Alfredo Covarrubias, who disclosed the case to the media, was separated from this agency more than a year ago. Also, more than 20 years ago, he lost his position as air traffic controller for not complying with the minimum training and updating requirements demanded by such work activity. This airworthiness redesign was carried out due to the future operations of the new air terminal called Felipe Ángeles, and the first stage of this procedure was implemented last March 25 for the operation of the Mexico City International Airport (AICM) and the Toluca Airport.