An air disaster was narrowly avoided in Mexico on Saturday. An airliner had to interrupt its landing maneuver to avoid hitting an aircraft traveling on the runway at Mexico City airport. “It is an incident that we cannot allow (…) these are very worrying events that we must examine,” Mexican Undersecretary for Transport Rogelio Jiménez Pons told Milenio television, announcing that the Director of Navigation Services, Victor Hernandez Sandoval, had tendered his resignation.

In videos of the incident, released by local media, the plane is seen about to land, but suddenly resumes flight as another aircraft continues to taxi down the runway. “Thanks to the training of our pilots (…) no passenger or crew members were in danger during the situation reported to the AICM (capital airport) on the night of May 7,” said on Twitter Enrique Beltranena, director of the airline Volaris to which the plane involved belongs.


The busiest airport in Latin America

The incident happened at Benito Juárez airport, the busiest in Latin America, with 36 million passengers in 2021. It came after the International Federation of Airline Pilots Associations (Ifalpa) reported on Thursday problems following the redesign of the airspace over Mexico City.

This development makes it possible to ensure the operation of another airport, that of Felipe Ángeles. Ifalpa points out in particular that the aircraft now undergo long waiting patterns, forcing them to land with little fuel.

Mexico City’s air safety questioned

Victor Hernández Sandoval had been tasked with redesigning the capital’s airspace to allow the operation of two airports in Mexico City, despite criticism from experts over the complications of operating two sites in a city surrounded by mountains and over 2,200 meters above sea level.


Faced with the saturation of Benito Juárez airport, the previous Mexican government decided to build a new airport in Texcoco, a suburb of the capital. But the president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, canceled this project and launched his plan to convert a military base into an airport, drawing criticism from investors and opponents. In May 2021, the United States downgraded Mexico City’s aviation safety rating, due to a lack of proper oversight.