CEO, Raúl Revuelta Musalem, tells Joe Bates extra about Mexico’s Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico (GAP) and the bold growth plans for its airports.
Are you able to inform us a bit extra about your airport community?
We function 12 airports within the Pacific area of Mexico and two in Jamaica – Sangster Worldwide Airport in Montego Bay and Kingston’s Norman Manley Worldwide Airport.
Our airports in Mexico embody Tijuana, Guadalajara, Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta. Guadalajara is Mexico’s dynamic second metropolis. Tijuana is a vibrant metropolis and the airport is situated on the US border with San Diego. Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta are world-class trip locations in Mexico. La Paz and Manzanillo are smaller trip locations in Mexico. Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, Morelia, Hermosillo and Mexicali are medium measurement cities with historically robust enterprise, VFR and leisure site visitors.
Between them our home airports account for 32% of all airport passengers dealt with in Mexico, and that determine will rise this yr as our group has led the nation’s restoration from COVID.
In Jamaica, GAP has a controlling 74.5% curiosity in MBJ Airports Restricted, which operates Sangster Worldwide Airport, and since October 2019, now we have been liable for the operation and growth of Norman Manley Worldwide Airport. When GAP signed the 25-year concession settlement for the airport with the Jamaican authorities it pledged to speculate $100 million on modernising and increasing the airport terminal over the subsequent 5 years.
So, taking a look at our airport portfolio, I believe it’s protected to say that we primarily serve rising cities and resorts and that we host airways of all enterprise fashions from many nations.
What airport is the jewel within the crown of GAP’s airport system and why?
Stakeholders at a number of of our airports would make a case that they’re the crown jewel, but when I’ve to call just one, it will be Guadalajara’s Miguel Hidalgo Worldwide Airport (GDL).
The airport serves Mexico’s second largest metropolitan space and has a catchment space of 16 million folks, all inside a two-hour drive of GDL.
Unknown to many individuals outdoors of Mexico, this nice area is residence to a rising IT business, and a number one centre for prime tech manufacturing, medical gear and provides, conventions and expositions and tourism.
The city of Tequila is near Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta is lower than three hours away by automobile. Funding within the electronics manufacturing business throughout the area has totalled greater than $14 billion during the last 15 years.
GDL is a gateway to close by states in Mexico that host automotive, aerospace, agribusiness and different world industries. This diversified, worldwide economic system helps a big center class that generates vital outbound journey, in addition to inbound enterprise, leisure and VFR journey.
Progress in Guadalajara has been sturdy because of natural demand and the stimulation attributable to Mexican and overseas low-cost carriers. As a result of worldwide profile of the regional economic system, GDL can be Mexico’s second largest cargo airport, internet hosting 17 devoted freighter airways.
Are you able to inform us extra concerning the growth plans for Guadalajara?
We’re investing near $750 million on upgrading the present terminal and the addition of a brand new terminal and second runway to make sure that the airport is provided to fulfill future demand as passenger numbers at GDL have greater than doubled since 2009, reaching an all-time excessive of 14.8 million in 2019.
When the brand new, second terminal opens by 2026, the airport can have 125,700sqm of terminal area – a 140% enhance vs at the moment. The brand new runway can be 3,500-metres lengthy and able to dealing with long-range plane such because the Boeing 777-300ER and Airbus A350-900. We’re additionally setting up a multi-purpose constructing that may home the 12,000sqm Hilton Backyard Inn Lodge.
What’s the general growth technique in your airports?
Rising the capability of our airports is the principle driving pressure behind all of our investments. Throughout 2020, we efficiently revised the Grasp Growth Program (MDP) for our Mexican airports, which is able to now contain an funding of 15.8 billion Mexican Pesos for the interval 2020-2024.
All of the initiatives that have been beforehand agreed upon with the authorities within the previous MDP stay, nonetheless, the initiation and termination timeframes will change. The principle initiatives deliberate between now and 2024 are:
- A second runway and terminal enlargement at Guadalajara Airport
- A brand new terminal processor constructing at Tijuana Airport to enrich the present Cross Border Xpress (CBX) dealing with passengers transferring between Mexico and the US
- A brand new terminal constructing in Puerto Vallarta Airport
- Growth of the present terminal at Los Cabos Airport
- Funding in new gear and expertise, together with new touch-free methods, throughout the whole community
- Airside upkeep throughout the community.
The brand new terminal processor constructing at Tijuana will allow transit passengers to cross by means of it with out being processed by the Mexican authorities, making the entire process quicker and extra environment friendly. We hope that this growth will assist make Tijuana a hub, attracting extra flights from Asia and Latin America for US sure passengers.
What impression has COVID-19 had on site visitors ranges at your airports and the place is Mexico at the moment when it comes to its restoration from the pandemic?
In case you have a look at IATA’s June 2021 knowledge for our largest airports, in comparison with June 2019, site visitors ranges at Los Cabos are up by 15% in complete and by 21% for worldwide site visitors. And it isn’t alone as Tijuana was additionally up 10% in complete. The image wasn’t fairly so vivid for Guadalajara, which noticed its general site visitors complete fall by 14%, however this may be defined by the grounding of Interjet, which had a major presence on the airport.
Elsewhere, Puerto Vallarta’s site visitors complete grew by 3%, boosted by a 11% upturn within the worldwide enviornment. On the entire, GAP’s Mexican operation was simply 2% beneath 2019, with worldwide site visitors up 8%, a major rise on two years in the past.
When it comes to Mexico’s restoration from COVID, our nation’s borders remained open to worldwide guests all through the pandemic, and plenty of Individuals took benefit of that for an escape to their favorite seashores. Within the reverse course, many Mexicans have been flying to america to get their COVID vaccinations as for some it’s simpler to get it there than at residence.
How has COVID impacted in your plans to increase the worldwide route networks out of your Mexican airports?
What we see is that airways are exploring new alternatives extra severely than earlier than COVID, and this may solely have a constructive impression on our efforts to draw new air providers to our focus areas of China, South Korea, Japan, Europe and Latin America.
The Guadalajara area has been prepared for providers by a European hub service since earlier than the pandemic, and we at the moment are in energetic discussions about this chance. The area’s economic system may be very worldwide in its make-up and is already residence to a powerful variety of European corporations, which assist generate the enterprise site visitors that full-service community carriers are on the lookout for. Certainly, the GDL area generates vital outbound journey for each enterprise and leisure and the state of Jalisco and others close by supply quite a lot of locations for inbound vacationers who need to expertise Mexico’s historical past, tradition, meals and surroundings.
From our perspective, we all know that a number of European hub carriers serve locations in Latin America with smaller populations and GDPs than Guadalajara’s, so our problem is getting the airways to know this chance.
We’re notably excited by China, Japan and South Korea as commerce and journey between Mexico and Asia have been rising quickly in recent times, fuelled by quite a lot of new scheduled passenger and cargo providers.
GAP is actively discussing potential new air service alternatives in Tijuana with quite a lot of Asian carriers. Tijuana hosts a vibrant manufacturing business comprised primarily of Asian corporations, a state of affairs that creates enterprise site visitors to/from Asia.
Relating to Latin America, Copa Airways at present serves each Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta, guaranteeing passengers fast onward connections to locations in Latin America and the Caribbean through its huge community. Nonetheless, we consider that there’s potential for providers to the area from different GAP airports and proceed to focus on new alternatives. Tijuana and Los Cabos, for instance, are prime examples of airports that may profit from providers by a Central American hub service.
Are you able to inform our readers a bit extra about how the cross-border terminal in Tijuana works and the way the airport advantages from its existance?
The Cross Border Xpress (CBX) is a visionary challenge that takes benefit of the proximity of the Tijuana Worldwide Airport (TIJ) to the US-Mexico border. It’s just a few ft away.
TIJ has at all times served as a gateway between Southern California and Mexico, however the expertise was flawed by the lengthy traces on the floor crossings between the 2 nations. The CBX was constructed as an extra airport ‘foyer’ on the US facet of the border, connecting to the TIJ terminal by a pedestrian walkway over the border. Ticketed passengers pay a modest charge to cross the border utilizing CBX and keep away from the border traces. This makes travelling predictable and fast. The US facet affords parking and transport and can quickly supply different facilities. Passengers to the States cross by means of US Immigration and Customs on the US facet of the walkway and vice versa for Mexico.
The CBX has been an enormous success story for TIJ. Previous to its 2015 opening, the airport dealt with simply over 4 million passengers per yr. This had greater than doubled to eight.9 million in 2019, throughout which era buyer satisfaction ranges have soared and Aeromexico in addition to Mexican ULCCs Volaris and VivaAerobus have commenced operations to Tijuana. Generally it’s straightforward to overlook that passengers flying to TIJ could be in downtown San Diego inside 25 minutes of passing by means of the CBX.
What do you contemplate to be GAP’s best challenges and alternatives at the moment?
As with every enterprise, the problem is to anticipate adjustments within the enterprise and be ready for them. Airports require massive capital investments and lengthy lead occasions for enlargement and modification, so it’s necessary to get issues proper.