April 20 (Global Web Wire)- On Thursday, the Plenary of the Chamber of Deputies approved amendments to the Civil Aviation Law and the Airports Law to allow the creation of a state-owned airline that will be operated by the Ministry of National Defense (Sedena) and will bear the name of Mexicana de Aviación.
With 256 votes in favor, 219 against, and zero abstentions, several amendments were approved in general and in particular, including the addition of Article 10 Bis to the General Civil Aviation Law.
This article establishes that “the head of the Secretariat (of Communications and Transportation) may grant assignment titles to the parastatal entities of the Federal Public Administration to provide the public service of regular national air transportation”.
The same article further establishes that “the validity of the assignment title will be for an indefinite period of time, and will only be terminated when it is proven that there is no longer a cause of public utility, public interest, general interest, social interest to be safeguarded, or for reasons of national security that justify it”.
The discussion among the deputies was polarized, with Morenistas defending the initiative of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador -which also contemplated allowing cabotage but was removed due to the pressures of the aeronautical sector- and the opposition warning of the effects on public finances.
Deputy Andrés Pinto Caballeros, from Movimiento Ciudadano, predicted that the airline will become a white elephant and warned that the Mexican economy cannot continue financing the “whims of the president”.
“We run the risk that the official airline that is intended to be created, not having the obligation to compete, will have to be subsidized to such a degree that it will represent millions and millions of pesos lost without generating a single positive impact on our country’s economy,” he said.
On the other hand, Congressman Mario Miguel Carrillo Cubillas ruled out subsidies for the state airline, since it will meet its expenses with the profits it generates.
Carrillo Cubillas pointed out that the reform gives the Federal Civil Aviation Agency the power to implement fare regulation that will apply equally “both to the companies that are currently in the sector and with private investment as well as to those that will receive, if necessary, public investment”. This will allow users to have access to fairer prices.
The reform was sent to the Senate of the Republic for its approval and subsequent publication in the Official Gazette of the Federation.
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