Mexico's President Presents Bill to Allow Cabotage Flights

The bill would modify current Mexican law to permit international airlines to operate domestic flights within the country, a practice known as "cabotage."

On December 15, 2022, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador presented before Congress a draft bill, "Amending, Adding, and Derogating Various Provisions of the Mexican Airports Law and the Mexican Civil Aviation Law." Among the bill's specific objectives is to allow the cabotage of foreign airlines in Mexican domestic airports and airfields that have the infrastructure and specifications required to provide such service—and whose routes are of strategic interest for the development of the country's airport infrastructure.  

According to the Mexican Civil Aviation Law, "cabotage" is defined as the transportation by air of passengers, cargo, mail, or a combination of these between two or more points within Mexico's national territory for remuneration or other type of consideration. 

The specifications required for the provision of cabotage services by foreign airlines are: 

  • Demonstrated benefits to public utility, public interest, or national security;
  • Routes of strategic interest for the development of the country's airport infrastructure;
  • Support for cabotage from the National Security Council (Consejo de Seguridad Nacional); and 
  • Existence of the necessary technical and operational capacity at the airport subject to the request. 

The bill's supporters argue that cabotage would benefit the users of air transportation for tourism or commercial purposes, providing access to extended regional and local routes and better-quality air services and efficiencies at a lower cost.  

It is important to note that the bill is currently in draft form and must proceed through the legislative process in order to become law.

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