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Air transportation in Mexico - statistics & facts

In January of 1910, the Mexican aviation pioneer, Alberto Braniff Ricard, flew approximately a half kilometer on board a French-manufactured plane. Though the event is disputed in Brazil, many believe this to be the first flight in the history of Latin American aviation. The strife may never fully be resolved, but Braniff’s feat was, in any case, the first time a person managed to start and land an airplane on Mexican soil. More than a century later, Mexico still stands out as one of the most important aviation markets on the west side of the Atlantic.

In 2019, the North American nation was awarded the top place among the best-connected Latin American countries thanks to its domestic and international flight connections, which translate into more than 800 thousand take-offs and landings each year. In total, there are 77 airports operating regular commercial flights in Mexico, among which Mexico City’s Benito Juárez International Airport (MEX) takes the foremost position.

Mexico’s main air travel hub

Built on the ground that witnessed Latin America’s first flight, the International Airport of the Mexican capital handled around 50 million air passengers and more than half a million tons of freight in the years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the airport’s operations, especially in people transportation, harshly reflect the health crisis’s impact on global aviation.

Plummeting by more than 50 percent, the total passenger traffic at the Mexico City International Airport sunk to nearly 22 million air travelers in 2020. In total annual operations, this meant a reduction of over 200 thousand passenger flights, which account for the largest share of operations at this important Latin American air travel hub. The number of specialized flights, classified by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) as general aviation (GA), also went down by more than 35 percent amid the coronavirus emergency. These include but are not limited to non-commercial business flights, crop spraying, pilot training, photography, search and rescue, as well as patrol operations.

Major industry players

The Federal Agency for Civil Aviation (AFAC), part of the Ministry of Communications and Transportation of Mexico, is responsible for both commercial and non-commercial civil aircraft operations in the country’s territory. The Mexican airport system, however, is operated by five major airport groups: Aeropuertos y Servicios Auxiliares (ASA), Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste (ASUR), Grupo Aeroportuario de la Ciudad de México (GACM), Pacific Airport Group (GAP), and Grupo Aeroportuario Del Centro Norte (OMA). Combined, these five Mexican airport operators surpassed 100 billion pesos in revenue in 2019.

As the country’s flag carrier, Aeroméxico has its main hub at the Mexico City International Airport, with secondary hubs at Guadalajara and Monterrey. After a steady growth in revenue for the greater part of the past decade, the airline’s parent company reported a slight decline in revenue in 2019. This was a negative development that was only worsened, although not only for them, throughout the COVID-19 situation. In 2021, the entire Latin American airline industry is still expected to feel the harsh effects of the pandemic.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 31 most important statistics relating to "Aviation industry in Mexico".


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