Mexico's airports earn more than airlines

In the aviation business, the groups that operate airports in Mexico are still the winners.
In the aviation business, the groups that operate airports in Mexico are still the winners.

These groups have concessions to operate various airports in the country and have recorded better profits than domestic airlines, as they have insured their income and increases in their rates, according to experts. Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste (ASUR), which operates nine airports in the national territory, including the one in Cancún, obtained an operating cash flow of 9,539 million pesos in 2018, 3.6 times more than that reported in 2017.

While the Airport Group of the North Center (OMA), which manages thirteen airports in Mexico, including Acapulco, obtained in 2018 an operational cash flow or Ebitda of 4 thousand 484 million pesos, 26.7% higher than that reported in 2017.

In contrast, Aeromexico, the national airline with the largest presence in the country, reported a 34% drop in its operating cash flow from 7 thousand 294 million pesos to 4 thousand 808 million.

But Volaris did not have better results either since in the same year it obtained a negative operating cash flow of 379 million pesos.

This difference is due to the fact that airport groups have a captive market and are monopolies, while in the case of airlines, free competition rules, said Rogelio Rodríguez, an aeronautics expert.

He described that these groups have revenues from the collection of three types of services, including the landing and take-off charges paid by airlines, as well as the Airport Use Fee (TUA) charged to passengers.

"With those safe income and monopoly services have a high income, high margins," he said.

In addition, they can practically increase the tariffs for these services without opposition, since the federal government only approves them, but does not question them, he said.

He explained that the airport law allows airport groups to operate hubs as businesses without thinking of optimal management because they are free to impose tariffs, even if the necessary improvements are not made to offer a better service.

While in the case of airlines, the most expensive services, apart from the price of fuel and fixed costs, are precisely the airports, said Fernando Gómez, a specialist in the aviation industry.

Recommended stories

Construction of new airport in Mexico confirmed

The construction of the new airport in Santa Lucía get the green light. The Ministry of National Defense (Sedena) already has the formal registration of the project and requested 885 million 571,400 pesos (the US $ 46 million) to start, as soon as possible, the tenders to assign the management of the project and the preparation of 14 pre-investment studies, including that of its interconnection with the International Airport of Mexico City (AICM).

For this task, the dependency has a budget of 15,000 million pesos (the US $ 781 million) that was assigned this year as "provisions for the modernization and rehabilitation of airport infrastructure and connectivity."

Based on the National Development Plan 2019-2024, it aims to reduce the saturation of the AICM with the construction, by the Directorate General of Engineers of the Sedena, of a commercial airport with two runways for passenger and cargo service in the land of the military base of Santa Lucia. Both will operate simultaneously.

These facilities will be complemented with the Toluca International Airport, as established by the federal government after the cancellation of the New Mexico International Airport (NAIM).

In Santa Lucia, a terminal passenger building and a customs building will be built to allow its use for international and national operations, among other works. Initially, it is expected to cost 70 billion pesos (the US $ 3 billion 648 million) and be ready to enter operations in three years.

In the information given to the Ministry of Finance, it is mentioned that the pre-investment studies will be "for the construction of a mixed civil/military airport with international status in the Military Air Base No. 1 (Santa Lucia, Mexico), its interconnection with the AICM and the relocation of military installations."

On the last point, among the requirements is: identify the existing facilities in the land and in the area of influence of the project and make a relocation proposal in a place that allows the construction and operation of the airport, as well as in its case maximum use of the existing.

The technical file prepared by the Sedena does not contain the estimated amounts to carry out each of the studies. The space destined for this is in black and on it the legend: "In accordance with article 110 of the Federal Law of Transparency and Access to Public Information".

This article refers to the fact that it can be classified as confidential information that: commits national security, public security or national defense and has a genuine purpose and a demonstrable effect or obstructs the verification, inspection and audit activities related to compliance with the laws or affect the collection of contributions, among other conditions.

Although he does not mention the cost of the studies in detail, it is clear that he considers, initially, an exchange rate of 20 pesos per dollar and of 22.50 pesos per euro, which at the close was 19.16 and 21, 76 pesos.

In order to achieve a "correct and complete integration of the information of all pre-investment studies", the dependence requires an experienced company to coordinate, validate and ensure the quality of it to establish the scope, cost and time of execution of the new airport.

"Project management includes the design and monitoring of the chronological and sequential program in which the preliminary technical studies will be carried out, which obligatorily complies with the applicable Official Mexican and International Standard, and based on them, prepare the executive draft and project. relating to the construction of the airport ", is detailed in the registration documentation.

Another fundamental study for the new infrastructure to be tendered is the development of a master plan that determines the operations capacity (passengers, cargo) and service levels of all the related components: airside (runways, taxiways, platforms and tower control, among others), landside (passenger terminal, cargo, parking and transportation centers, for example), complementary buildings, and so on.

To begin construction of the new airport, the federal government will commission the airworthiness studies and simultaneous operations of the airports of Mexico City, Santa Lucia, and Toluca to obtain authorization from the General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGAC). ) based on the regulations of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO, for its acronym in English).

The bidding will be in charge of the Sedena and it is not yet known what modality it will use (including public tender and direct award).

The objective is to have airspace design and procedures, as well as the capacity and equipment requirements to achieve them since to date there is a preliminary study prepared by the company NavBlue, which endorsed the operations simultaneous but made it clear that a more in-depth study should be developed.

According to the forecasts of the Sedena, that information could be delivered in 11 months, starting next February, and includes two phases, the first to optimize operations of the International Airport of Mexico City and the Toluca International Airport.

Latest stories