Mexico City's Airspace Becomes Dangerously Busy As Two Flights Almost Collide

Mexico City’s Airspace Becomes Dangerously Busy As Two Flights Almost Collide


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Following an incident the place two planes almost collided as a consequence of heavy air site visitors, and a number of stories regarding the saturation of Mexico City’s airport, numerous aviation teams, together with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), have expressed grave concern over the metropolis’ dangerously busy airspace.

Mexico is one of the most visited countries in the world. Even all through Covid, when worldwide journey got here to a standstill in all places else, the North American nation dominated headlines as a restriction-free haven, and has continued to take action even now, when a few of its strongest rivals have additionally reopened.

Two Planes Preparing For Landing And Take Off From Busy Airport

Sadly, attaining this fascinating put up has not come with out its challenges, and danger of collision and different misfortunes has elevated dramatically as Mexico City’s airspace faces unprecedented congestion:

Two Volaris Jets Nearly Collide At Mexico City Airport Due To Saturation

Even although it has lately opened a new international airport to attempt to divert site visitors across the capital, Mexico continues to be fighting an unprecedented journey demand. Especially now that it has formally scrapped its Covid warning system, lastly treating the virus as endemic, the state of affairs is unlikely to enhance until extra drastic motion is taken.

On May 7, two Volaris Airbus A320s got here actually near colliding upon being cleared to land and take off on the identical runway, in what would have been a serious aviation disaster. While a last-minute radio warning stored the worst from occurring, the incoming jet solely missed the opposite engine, then making ready to take off, by some 100 ft.

No one was injured, and the Y4-799 flight arriving from Mazatlan managed to land efficiently, whereas the Q6-4069 flight to Guatemala City took off with out additional issues. Even although a collision was averted, albeit narrowly, the occasion has drawn criticism and raised some critical issues relating to Mexico’s airspace security.

Volaris Aircraft Preparing To Take Off With Aeromexico Aircraft Taking Off In The Background At Mexico International Airport, Mexico City, Mexico

The indisputable fact that Mexico nonetheless ranks excessive because the number one preferred vacation for Americans, and its constructive tourism tendencies over the following few months, are literally all of the extra worrying, as Mexico City’s over-stretched worldwide airport must have operations urgently lowered 25% in an effort to keep away from an impeding catastrophe.

17 Collision Alerts In Total Have Been Issued Since April 2021

As famous by Deputy Transport Minister Rogelio Jiminez Pons, ‘the airport has been saturated and in terrible condition for decades’, and flights have to be diverted to different airports, together with the model new Felipe Angeles International Airport.

Cars Approaching Benito Juarez International Airport In Mexico City, Mexico

IATA officers are on prime of current occasions, noting there have been a staggering 17 GPWS – Ground Proximity Warning System alerts since April 2021.

A GPWS alert refers to a state of affairs the place there’s an imminent danger of a airplane collision or crash until fast motion is taken. May 7 is just one of many comparable incidents, which have led Victor Hernandez, the director of the Mexican Air Space Navigation Services (SENEAM) at hand in a resignation letter, solely including to the continuing chaos.

Aeromexico Jets Parked At Mexico City International Airport, Mexico

Writing on behalf of 290 airways, IATA representatives reiterated that ‘these alarms, with out the fast motion of the flight crew, can result in situation of managed flight into terrain, CFIT, thought-about by the business to be one of many highest danger indicators in operational security, and with the highest accident fee, in addition to fatalities‘.

Additionally, the IFALPA – International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations additionally inferred the opening of Mexico City’s new worldwide airport, and the suboptimal redesign of the capital’s airspace to accommodate it, has contributed to the present imbroglio. They additionally counsel air site visitors controllers have ‘received little training and support as to how to operate this new configuration’.

Busy Airport In Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Redesigned Airspace, Lack of Training, And Staff Longer Working Hours Could Be Behind Recent Incidents

The Felipe Angeles Airport, located some 31 miles north of Mexico City’s heart, was initially meant to ease the burden on operations at its counterpart, Benito Juarez Airport. That is one thing but to materialize, as specialists declare the airspace’s redesign is ‘flawed’ in the best way it ‘ignores the metropolis’ distinctive geography’.

Landing plane in Mexico City has at all times been traditionally difficult, as town is surrounded by mountains, whereas being at an altitude of greater than 7,000 ft, requiring cautious planning and an ideal airspace administration. As current stories point out, the latter has not been maintained.

Heavy Traffic In Mexico City, Mexico

Mexico’s Deputy Transport Minister considerably confirmed IFALPA’s issues by conceding the Volaris incident was probably attributable to an ‘air site visitors management mistake‘. While he didn’t point out air site visitors controllers being poorly skilled, Pons did reveal Mexico presently has a shortfall of roughly 250 controllers, which suggests workers could also be working longer hours.

Due to the above causes, the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has since downgraded Mexico’s air security score. While it beforehand loved a Category 1 standing, it’s now in a Category 2 limbo, which suggests it doesn’t adjust to ICAO – International Civil Aviation Organization requirements.

Female Air Traffic Controller Managing Airspace In An Airport

The downgrading additionally suggests Mexico is failing to fulfill minimal worldwide security requirements, and that the civil aviation authority within the nation is ‘lacking’ in certain areas. These might embody decision of security issues, technical experience, skilled personnel, amongst others.

So far, the Mexican Government and Mexico’s aviation authorities are but to supply a definitive answer to the urgent subject, though President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has confirmed an investigation is ‘underway‘.

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