Airlines concerned about safety in Mexico City’s airspace

May 8, 2022

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Multiple international aviation organizations are raising concerns about the air traffic situation in Mexico City, citing an apparent slew of recent safety concerns.

In a letter sent last week to Mexican aviation officials, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents hundreds of airlines, said since last spring there have been 17 ground proximity warning system (GPWS) alerts, which is a situation where a plane could crash unless quick action is taken.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

A day after IATA sent its letter to Mexican officials, the International Federation of Air Line Pilots Associations issued its own safety bulletin, mentioning recent cases where planes arrived in Mexico City with low levels of fuel “due to unplanned holding, diversions for excessive delays, and significant GPWS alerts.”

A Volaris aircraft is seen at Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City. (Photo by Alfredo Estrella/AFP via Getty Images)

The alert said there was a recent case “where one crew almost had a Controlled Flight into Terrain.”

The concerns come weeks after the greater Mexico City area saw a second airport open. Felipe Angeles Airport (NLU) opened in late March, outside Mexico City, on the Santa Lucia Military Airbase site. The airport’s opening was intended to help relieve congestion at Mexico City’s Benito Juarez International Airport (MEX). The two airports are located less than 30 miles apart.

map showing proximity of mexico city airports
(Screenshot courtesy of Google Maps)

With the new airport operating, that of course means there is now a more complex air traffic situation in the greater Mexico City region, with more planes flying in and out of more locations.

This is not the first time TPG has reported on air safety concerns in Mexico, though. In spring 2021, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced plans to downgrade Mexico’s aviation safety rating.

These red flags over air safety come as travel demand to Mexico has reached an all-time high over the last couple of years.

Related: How pilots avoid colliding with the ground in tricky situations

As part of its letter, IATA requested a meeting with Mexico aviation officials as soon as possible to find the best solution to recent concerns.

In the meantime, the International Federation of Air Lines Pilots advised its crews to carry additional fuel in case the plane has to be diverted or faces prolonged holding prior to landing. The organization also recommended its pilots “exercise heightened terrain situational awareness” when flying in and out of airports in the Mexico City region.

Featured photo courtesy of Ernesto Ruiz/EyeEm/Getty.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.