The Federal Official Gazette (DOF) published a decree on July 8, 1943, which declared the Central Airport of Mexico City as an international airport with passenger and plane entry and departure.
Six years later, construction began on runway 05D-23I, as well as on other new facilities, including a platform, terminal building, control tower and offices for authorities. The runway was inaugurated in 1951, and on November 19, 1952, the buildings were opened for business.
The “México” Control Tower, which continues in operation, was inaugurated on November 24, 1978. On August 15, 1979, a remodeled terminal building was unveiled. This project took just over a year but did not affect airport services, and made better use of spaces for passenger movement and walkways.
On December 2, 1963 an agreement with former Communications and Transportation Minister, Walter C. Buchanan, changed the name of the Central Airport to Mexico City International Airport (AICM). Four decades later, on November 24, 2006, Benito Juárez was added to the name through a decree published in the Federal Official Gazette (DOF).
On May 31, 1994, general aviation operations were transferred to the International Airport of Toluca to reduce traffic at AICM due to constant growth both in the number of passengers and operations. This was announced in the DOF on the 13th of January that year. Renovations continued, and on April 11, 1994, operations began at the facilities of the new International Terminal, built by a private company in accordance with a co-investment agreement with “Airports and Auxiliary Services” (Aeropuertos y Servicios Auxiliares).
To improve passenger capacity construction began in 2001on Module XI, which gave the air terminal eight new contact positions with the capability to receive an equal number of regular-body planes, or two wide-cabin planes and four narrow-body planes.
Amid a growing demand, and in order to make AICM one of the best airports in terms of quality, services, security and operating functionality, the federal government announced the expansion and modernization of the airport on May 30, 2003. This would expand AICM’s service capacity from 20 to 32 million passengers per year.
The program was part of the Metropolitan Airport System promoted by the federal government. The Communications and Transportation Ministry (SCT), Aeropuertos y Servicios Auxiliares (ASA) and AICM, performed expansion and remodeling work on Terminal 1, over a surface area of 90,000 m²; 48,000 of which were new construction and 42,000 of which were remodeled.
The following year, in August 2004, the expanded national baggage claim area was unveiled, which grew from 2,760 m² to 3,750 m². In this area, two new baggage carousels were installed to serve two million more people; in other words, the capacity was expanded to provide service to nine million passengers per year. The new pre-boarding area (Sala Bravo) was expanded by 1,540 m², to a total of 7,590 m². This area stretched its capacity from seven to nine million passengers per year.
The renovations included new airline counters, escalators, commercial spaces, payphones, bathrooms and an elevator for people with disabilities, which improved the flow of passengers with domestic destinations.
The national (primary) walkway was remodeled and expanded from 3,670 to 8,170 m² – an 122 per cent increase. Commercial spaces were relocated to provide users with wide-open, modern spaces. During this period, a new Mezzanine was also built. This area is home to the financial and various services area.
With the demolition of the Tower Building, Terminal 1’s road was also expanded and improved. Passenger access gates were also reorganized. Four access bridges were relocated and remodeled: two leading to the national parking lot, one to the pilot parking lot and another towards the Hotel Camino Real.
The national and international parking lots were equipped with a modern, automated pre-paid system, which simplifies user arrival and departure. Both have a current capacity of 3,000 vehicles and offer all types of access to people with disabilities.
A new drainage system was built with the road, which prevents flooding during rainy seasons.
A vehicle bridge was built for exclusive access to new passenger check-in areas at entrances F1, F2 and F3, where national and international airlines arrive and depart. New international check-in areas were built on the terminal’s first floor, on a surface area of 5,600 m².
To facilitate traveler entry into final waiting areas located in Module XI (gates 29 to 36) a new checkpoint was opened. It was called Julieta “J” and was located near the new check-in areas F1, F2 and F3.
A new Immigration area (M2) was built in the lower level. This space has 24 Immigration modules, with light-up indicators to facilitate arriving travelers’ entry into airport facilities. This area has wide-open spaces for travelers coming from North America, Europe and Asia.
The international baggage claim area was expanded by 100 percent, with the installation of six new carousels that help passengers get their baggage in less time and prevent crowding.
The Customs area grew from 3,350 to 6,200 m² and the number of inspection modules grew from 10 to 18. New revision modules are located in the new international departures area, which connects directly to the new taxi boarding area.
Among other works performed in the international area, a long-distance bus terminal was built, with connections to Puebla, Cuernavaca, Pachuca, Toluca, Querétaro and Orizaba. The new bus station has access to a food court and the international arrivals and departures area, as well as a pedestrian bridge that connects to the “Peñón de los Baños” neighborhood.
Airport expansion and modernization included major changes to the operations area with the purpose of improving its infrastructure and making it more accessible.
Different renovations took place, including the expansion of the Coca 2 tarmac, construction of the Golfo tarmac and renovation of Alfa and Bravo tarmacs, which will help increase AICM’s capacity from 54 to 61 plane operations (landings and takeoffs) per hour, and facilitate plane movement from runways to terminal buildings.
To make plane operations more secure, horizontal and vertical signaling was improved on runways, tarmacs and platforms, which are essential in plane arrivals and departures, as well as a barrier system at all tarmac waiting points.
Bravo tarmac, which is located between Terminal 1 and runway 05 left 23 right (05L-23R), was rebuilt and renovated to improve airplane traffic and operations, and also increased airline service quality.
As part of the operating area’s security, the deflector was expanded, which is a means of protection from plane turbine air currents and roads that go along the rear part of the heading of runways 5D and 5I.
Improvements to AICM’s operating infrastructure included the construction of a semi-deep drainage system, 8 meters deep, 820 meters long and 1.83 meters wide, which crosses the platform, tarmacs and runways, and helps reduce the impact of rain.
AICM expansion and remodeling also included the construction of a new terminal to be able to offer users and travelers better services and spaces.
Terminal 2 was built over a surface area of 242,666.55 m² and has modern security systems, in accordance with international standards including a passenger traffic separation system.
The new facility will help AICM increase its capacity to 32 million passengers per year. It has a travelers building with 23 points of contact and six remote points, parking for more than 3,000 vehicles, an automated train between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, a hotel, bridges and new entry and exit roads.
Air operations in the new facilities began on November 15, 2007, with flights by Aeromar and Delta Airlines, and later Aeroméxico, Copa, Lan and Continental Airlines. Terminal 2 was formally inaugurated by former President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa on March 26, 2008.
Terminal 2 is connected to Terminal 1 through an inter-terminal train that runs 3 km, as well as a new direct road system. It includes two distributor roads: D1, which connects T1 and T2 with Río Consulado, and D2, which connects T2 and T1 directly from Viaducto Piedad and Río Churubusco.
These projects were done without affecting airplane takeoffs and departures, and will help Mexico City International Airport offer better services, and respond to the growing demand of passengers and operations in the coming years.
Revised/Last Update: October 16, 2013 2:58 pm