Aeromexico plans to retain its Mexico City operations in the current airport, as it considers a proposed three-airport solution for the Mexican capital unfeasible.
"It's way too many," Aeromexico chief executive Andres Conesa tells FlightGlobal at the IATA Aviation Summit in Mexico City. "Ideally we want to stay in just one."
The SkyTeam carrier has no plans to resume operations at Toluca, one of three airports that the Mexican government has proposed as an alternative solution to meet growing passenger traffic needs of Mexico City. Aeromexico last served Toluca in November 2017, Cirium schedules data shows.
Toluca airport is about 44 miles (70km) southwest of Mexico City airport. Airlines have said the distance between the airports makes connections difficult. Mexico's government also plans to convert the Santa Lucia military air base into a commercial airport, creating a three-airport system to serve the city. The air base is 32 miles northeast of Mexico City airport.
Conesa says splitting Aeromexico's operations among three airports will not allow the airline to connect passengers efficiently. "We have widebodies. We are a network carrier and we need to offer connectivity," says Conesa.
Unlike its Mexican airline peers, Aeromexico has a substantial international network. More than a third of its capacity serves destinations outside Mexico, Cirium schedules data shows. The Mexican flag carrier is the largest airline at Mexico City, operating about 40% of capacity there.
Operating out of a second airport in Mexico City would make sense only for point-to-point routes with multiple frequencies, says Conesa. He points to Aeromexico shareholder and partner Delta Air Lines' hubs at both New York John F Kennedy and LaGuardia. "You can split operations if you have many point-to-point flights. Otherwise, you lose the connectivity."
While the Mexican government has proposed improvements to the existing Mexico City airport to expand its capacity, Conesa says that solution is only useful for the medium term. "There will still be a need for infrastructure in the long run," he adds.
The squeeze on Mexico City's airport infrastructure has prompted the airline to slow plans to renew its regional aircraft fleet. Aeromexico had been studying a potential replacement for its Embraer E-Jets, but the work has become less urgent. A decision is unlikely to come this year, says Conesa.
"We have the luxury of waiting," he adds, saying the airline is taking time to understand better the new generation of regional jets, such as the Embraer E-Jet E2 and Airbus A220.
Aeromexico's regional affiliate Aeromexico Connect operates 47 E190s and 10 E170s, Cirium Fleets Analyzer shows.