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Mexican carrier Aeromexico expects longer flight cuts from Mexico City

·1 min read

By Kylie Madry

MEXICO CITY, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Mexican airline Aeromexico expects flight restrictions out of the capital's main airport to drag out longer than planned due to repairs, the carrier's chief executive told press on Wednesday.

In August, Mexican authorities said they had come to an agreement with airlines to cut flights out of the Benito Juarez International Airport by 15% during peak hours for the winter season.

"It looks pretty unlikely that the (repairs) will be done in six months," said CEO Andres Conesa following a panel at a business conference. "It's a huge project, from Terminal 2 to the taxiways," he said.

The cuts at Mexico City's hub come as Mexican airlines feel the pressure to open or expand flights from the six-month-old Felipe Angeles International Airport on the outskirts of town, one of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's flagship projects.

Mexico City has long struggled with oversaturation at the existing hub, and Felipe Angeles and the forgotten Toluca Airport to the west of town have been touted by Lopez Obrador and officials as solutions.

"These repairs are important, because investments into the airport's upkeep were lacking for a long time," said Conesa. "If (the restrictions) have to be extended another season, we'll do it."

In the meantime, Aeromexico will focus on flights out of other large Mexican cities such as Guadalajara and Monterrey, the executive said.

Aeromexico's expansion plans also depend on the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration's Category 2 rating for Mexico, Conesa said, a downgrade made more than a year ago which currently prohibits Mexican airlines from opening new routes to the United States. "The damage done by that is significant."

(Reporting by Kylie Madry; Editing by Josie Kao)