OMA Looks to Domestic Air Travel Market as Mexico Gets Back on its Feet

By Kevin Rozario

August traffic data released in early September by Mexican airport operator Grupo Aeroportuario del Centro Norte (OMA Group) showed a relatively strong performance compared to previous months, and to some counterparts in South America.

Overall passenger numbers for August of just under 817,000 were 61% down versus the same month in 2019, while year-to-August traffic was off by 55%. By comparison, Argentina-based Corporación América Airports saw its August passenger count plummet by 89%, and by 66% for the year-to-August.

Mexico’s government reopened the country relatively early after lockdown but in a piecemeal region-by-region way from 1 June. It operates a traffic-light system based on epidemiological COVID19 risks for each region (municipality or state). For OMA this means it has to adhere to rules depending on the states where its 13 airports operate. The group has implemented health security protocols in coordination with Mexico’s health and aeronautical authorities.

Generally speaking, Mexico has been fortunate in that cross-border travel from the US has continued – and picked up lately as major carriers like American Airlines have added capacity. Nevertheless, the country is still playing catch-up. According to Statista, between January and June 2020, Mexico received only 29% of the number of inbound travellers recorded the previous year.

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