Europe Travel

What It’s Like To Travel From Mexico City’s New International Airport

On Monday, Simple Flying had the opportunity to travel internationally, departing from Mexico City’s new Felipe Ángeles International Airport (NLU). We were onboard Arajet’s flight DM4341 to Santo Domingo Las Américas International (SDQ) in the Dominican Republic. This is the second time this year that we have been onboard a flight departing from this hub, inaugurated on March 21, 2022.


How was the experience nine months later?

The Felipe Ángeles Airport is quite lovely. It is a small hub –there were only 21 scheduled flights to leave on Monday operated by five carriers– which makes it easier to navigate through. Our flight left at 10:55, so we arrived three hours later, not because we needed to, but because we wanted to tour the airport again.

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The lack of ground connectivity continues to be Felipe Angeles’ primary area of concern. Getting to the new airport is almost impossible if it is not done by car, which reflects the costly taxi and Uber fares. Nonetheless, the Mexican government is working on adding more connectivity that will allow passengers to get to NLU easier, faster, and cheaper. We departed from Mexico City (from a place near the Mexico City International Airport), and it took us 45 minutes to get to the Felipe Ángeles. Not bad.

The last time we were at the Felipe Ángeles, the airport had just been opened three days earlier. That time we flew with Volaris on a domestic service to Tijuana International (TIJ). In the first three months, the new airport only had 12 daily flights, six departures, and six arrivals, and closed by 15:00. In December, the airport has 214 weekly flights scheduled, according to data by Cirium. It is not a 24-hour airport yet, as the last flight departs at around 20:00.

Nonetheless, the airport is busier now. More restaurants and shops have opened their doors, including two Priority Pass lounges for passengers interested in having a more VIP experience. Fortunately, the queues for boarding and security remain short and easy to navigate, which boosts the passenger experience.

The bad

We have already discussed the lack of ground connectivity. That’s something that needs to be addressed for the airport to become a genuine option for Mexican travelers. Another thing that needs to be addressed is the lack of travel options. As of December, 18 cities (including four international) have direct connectivity from NLU. Only eleven have daily connectivity from NLU, with Cancún, Guadalajara, and Monterrey being the most served destinations.

Inside the airport, there’s a lack of commercial diversity. There aren’t many food options and fewer retail stores. But what surprised us the most was the almost complete lack of currency exchange stores. There’s only one, and it was closed when we traveled. While there are only a handful of international destinations, that’s no excuse not to have exchange stores for international travelers.

An Arajet Boeing 737 MAX parked in Mexico City

Photo: Daniel Martínez Garbuno | Simple Flying.

How many passengers has NLU received in 2022?

Mexico City’s new airport has moved slowly in its first year of operations. According to data from the Mexican Government, the Felipe Ángeles International has received 472,924 travelers between March and October. Internationally, the airport has received only 7,804 passengers from two services (Arajet’s flight from Santo Domingo and Copa Airlines from Panama City). For some reason, the Mexican government does not publish the traffic stats by Conviasa’s international service from Caracas.

Between April and July, the airport remained stagnant in the number of monthly passengers. It averaged around 34,400 passengers in that span. Since August, passenger stats have exploded, increasing by 517% in October versus July, fueled by more airlines launching routes.

Unfortunately, there have been few route announcements lately. Mexico remains downgraded to Category 2 by the Federal Aviation Organization (FAA), which impacts the possibility of opening new routes to the United States from the Felipe Ángeles Airport.

Would you like to travel from Mexico City’s new international airport? Let us know in the comments below.


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