Military Independence Day Flyover Closes Mexico City’s Airports For 5 Hours


  • Mexico City cargo Aeromexico

    Mexico City International Airport

    IATA/ICAO Code:
    MEX/MMMX

    Country:
    Mexico

    CEO:
    Gerardo Ferrando

    Passenger Count :
    36,056,614 (2021)

    Runways :
    05R/23L – 3,900m (12,795ft) |05L/23R – 3,952m (12,877ft)

    Terminals:
    Terminal 1 | Terminal 2

On Friday, Mexico City’s airspace was closed to commercial aviation for five hours between 09:00 and 14:00 local time. The Mexico City Benito Juárez International Airport (MEX), the Felipe Ángeles International Airport (NLU), and the Toluca International Airport (TLC) shut down while a military parade celebrating the country’s 212th anniversary of independence took place.


Shutting down

Like every year, Mexico celebrates its Independence Day on September 16. It is a public holiday in which the government holds an iconic military parade throughout Mexico City, which includes the participation of the Mexican air force. Mexico City Airport announced it would shut down for five hours, not allowing departures or landings to “facilitate the air maneuvers due to the national celebration.”

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It added,

“According to the NOTAM (Notice to Airmen), A5998/22, MEX will be closed to all air activity, both official and commercial, from 09:00 to 14:00 hours (local time). This was notified in advance to the airlines in order to anticipate their operations. Aircraft landings and takeoffs will resume once the aerial acrobatics to be performed as part of the military parade in Mexico City are concluded. The suspension of operations is agreed upon in a coordinated manner between civil-military authorities.”

The Mexican airlines, Aeromexico, Volaris, Viva Aerobus, and Aeromar, all informed their passengers about the closure of the airspace around Mexico City. Given the fact that this is an annual celebration, they don’t sell commercial services to these airports to avoid complications.

Departing from Mexico City’s new commercial airport

The military aircraft employed during Mexico’s military parade on September 16 departs from the Felipe Ángeles International Airport. This hub, inaugurated as a commercial airport on March 21, 2022, has been the country’s top military base for decades.

Every year, Mexico celebrates a military parade on September 16. Photo: Getty Images.

Despite the fact that now it is mainly known as a commercial airport – with controversial results attracting new airlines and passengers – it remains, first and above all, a military base. That’s why the Mexican army is in charge of administering the entire airport.

Throughout the five-hour period, several aircraft cruised Mexico City’s airspace. From an Alenia C-27J Spartan, registration FAM-3401, to a Boeing 737-800, registration FAM-3528, and a CASA C-295 (FAM-3208), these military planes flew around the city, displaying military formations and attracting views from below.

A view of several Mexican military aircraft flying across Mexico City on September 16, 2022. Photo: Daniel Martínez Garbuno | Simple Flying.

The impact

Fridays are usually the least busy days to fly at Mexico City airports, according to data provided by Cirium. In September, there were 400 scheduled departing flights from these hubs and 385 landings, compared to the 490 departures and landings on average every week.

Aeromexico operates the most significant number of departures every week, with 1,674, followed by Volaris (645), Viva Aerobus (490), and United Airlines (91). Cancún is the top destination from these hubs with 302 weekly flights, followed by Guadalajara (235), Monterrey (230), Tijuana (162), and Mérida (131).

Have you been to Mexico City around this time of the year and seen the military parade? Tell us your experiences in the comments below.

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