A detailed and realistic guide to Mexico City International Airport

Welcome everyone to a very fresh and updated guide to the busiest airport in Latin America. This guide has the purpose to guide the pilots who are interested in flying into this particiular airport. This guide has the objective of giving a realistic experience when flying in/out from MEX, which includes the airlines and terminals, runways, or even taxiway accommodations for specific planes (i.e: the Boeing 748).

So, without further delay, let’s get this started! Bienvenidos al Aeropuerto Internacional de la Ciudad de México!!


Table of contents, just in case...
  1. Introduction
  2. Airlines and their respective terminals; Cargo Airlines
  3. The runway usage in MMMX; taxiway accomodation for the B748 & A388.
  4. SID’s & STAR’s
  5. Silent Dangers in Mexico City

Introduction: Mexico City

Before we get strated and go to the airport, let’s have a quick peak on the city itself. Welcome to CDMX, a very HUGE city. This is obviously the capital city of México. The city, even with a lot of pollution, and a hell of traffic (both in ground and in air, no joke), it is very know for some remarkable (and historical) landmarks, including “El Ángel de la Independencia” (picture above), “El Palacio de Bellas Artes”, Chapultepec, or even the archaeological sites in the surroundings of the city (such as Teotihuacán, Tenochtitlán, etc). It’s also known for the gastronomy (basically the whole country is known for that lol).

Obviously, the city is served by Benito Juarez International Airport (MMMX) and (a controversial) Felipe Angeles Intl (MMSM), but today we are seeing MMMX, because is an interesting, busy, but also a dangerous airport, with a huge variety of destinations to serve (and because is one of my favourite airports).


Terminals, Airlines and Destinations

MMMX has two terminals. On Terminal 1 operates most of the international airlines, while Aeromexico (Mexico’s flag carrier) operates mostly on Terminal 2. More details are found below. Source: Wikipedia…


Airport Map

image

Section Color
Terminal 1 / National Blue
Terminal 2 / International Red
Cargo White
Terminal 2 Yellow
Aeromar Stands Green/Black Arrow

TERMINAL 1

Airline Destinations Notes
Aeromexico Connect Campeche, Ciudad Obregón, Culiacán, Durango, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Los Mochis, Manzanillo, Matamoros, Mazatlán, Minatitlán/Coatzacoalcos, Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa, Tampico, Zacatecas
Air Canada Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver
Air France Paris-CDG AF179-Daily Flight Departing 7:40P.M local Time
All Nippon Airways Tokyo-Narita ANA179-Daily Flight Departing 2:05A.M local flight
American Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, ​Phoenix–Sky Harbor JFK-MEX starts on Nobember 4th
Avianca Bogotá, Cali, Medellín, San José-Costa Rica (Avianca Costa Rica), San Salvador (Avianca El Salvador)
British Airways London-LHR BA242-Daily Flight Departing 11:00P.M Local Time
Emirates Dubai Via Barcelona // EK256 Daily Flight, 7:40P.M Local Time
Iberia Madrid-Barajas 2-3 Daily Flights: Departs in the Morning, Afternoon and Night
KLM Amsterdam-Schiphol KLM686-Daily Flight, 9:05P.M Local Time
LATAM Sao Paulo-GRU, Santiago de Chile, Lima
Lufthansa Frankfurt, Munich (Not operating) LH499 to Frankfurt: B748, Only uses gate 26; Special Taxi procedures; Daily Flight, 8:50P.M Local Time // To Munich, use A359
Magnicharters Cancún, Huatulco, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Mérida, Puerto Vallarta, San José del Cabo Charter Flights
Turkish Airlines Istanbul IST-MEX is direct // MEX-IST via CUN
United Chicago-O’Hare, Houston-George Bush, New York-Newark, San Francisco, Washington-Dulles
Viva Aerobus Acapulco, Bogotá, Chetumal, Chicago-O’Hare, Chihuahua, Ciudad Juárez, Culiacán, Dallas/Fort Worth, Hermosillo, Houston-Intercontinental, Huatulco, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, La Paz, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Mazatlán, Mérida, New York-JFK, Nuevo Laredo, Oaxaca, Puerto Escondido, Puerto Vallarta, Reynosa, San Antonio, San José del Cabo, Tampico, Torreón/Gómez Palacio, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Veracruz, Villahermosa
Viva Air Colombia Bogotá, Medellín, Cartagena
Volaris Acapulco, Bogotá, Cancún, Chetumal, Chicago-O’Hare, Chihuahua, Ciudad Juárez, Cozumel, Culiacán, Dallas/Forth Worth, Denver, Guadalajara, Hermosillo, Houston-Intercontinental, Huatulco, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, La Paz, Las Vegas, Lima, Los Angeles, Los Mochis, Mazatlán, Mérida, Mexicali, Miami, Monterrey, Oakland, Oaxaca, Orlando, Puerto Escondido, Puerto Vallarta, Sacramento, San Antonio, San José del Cabo, Tapachula, Tijuana, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Villahermosa, San José-Costa Rica (Volaris Costa Rica), Guatemala City (Volaris Costa Rica), El Salvador (Volaris el Salvador)

TERMINAL 2

Airline Destinations Notes
Aeromar Acapulco, Aguascalientes,​ Ciudad Victoria, Colima, Guadalajara, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Ixtepec, Laredo, McAllen, Piedras Negras, Puerto Escondido, Puerto Vallarta, Tepic, Villahermosa Operates on Aeromar Stands
Aeromexico Amsterdam, Barcelona,​ Bogotá, Buenos Aires-Ezeiza, Cancún, Chicago-O’Hare, Chihuahua, Culiacán, Denver, Guadalajara, Hermosillo, La Habana, Las Vegas, Lima, Londres-Heathrow, Los Angeles, Madrid, Medellín-JMC, Mérida, Mexicali, Miami, Monterrey, Montreal-Trudeau, New York-JFK, Orlando, Paris-CDG, Puerto Vallarta, Quito, San Francisco, San José de Costa Rica, San José del Cabo, Santiago de Chile, São Paulo-GRU, Seattle/Tacoma, Seoul-Incheon,​Tijuana, Tokyo-Narita,​ Toronto-Pearson, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Vancouver, Villahermosa Flights to Asia currently suspended due to restriction on the Russian Airspace, and the strict rules on COVID-19 // Flight to Barcelona is Suspended
Aeromexico Connect Acapulco, Aguascalientes, Austin, Cancún, Chetumal, Chihuahua, Ciudad de Guatemala, Ciudad del Carmen, Ciudad Juárez, Dallas/Fort Worth, Guadalajara, Hermosillo, Houston-Intercontinental, Huatulco, La Paz, León/El Bajío, Managua, Mérida, Mexicali, Monterrey, Morelia ​ Oaxaca, Puerto Escondido, Puerto Vallarta, Querétaro, San Antonio, San José del Cabo, San Luis Potosí, San Pedro Sula, San Salvador, Santo Domingo, Tapachula, Tegucigalpa/Comayagua, Torreón/Gómez Palacio, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Veracruz, Villahermosa
Copa Airlines Panama-Tocumen
Delta Atlanta-Hartsfield, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis-Saint Paul, New York-JFK, Salt Lake City
Wingo Bogota

Cargo

Although most of the cargo operations are moving to NLU, we will pretend there is still airliners operating here. The airliners commonly seen in MEX are Aerounión, Cargolux, and Estafeta. Here is a list of the operators, according to AICM’s main website

  • Aerounión (Only National Flights)
  • Amerijet
  • Cargolux
  • Estafeta
  • Lufthansa Cargo
  • Mas Air
  • Tampa Cargo
  • UPS
  • Cathay Pacific Cargo
  • Qatar Cargo
  • Turkish Cargo
  • CAL Cargo
  • Emirates Sky Cargo

Important Note: Due to the high elevation in MMMX for an extremely heavy aircraft, most of the long-haul flights do, as a minimum, a stop in Guadalajara. (GDL-MMGL)


Runway usage / Taxiway operations for B748 & A380

Here is some runway information, based in Infinite Flight

Runway Length
05L/23R 12912ft
05R/23L 13427ft

Here is the normal runway usage in MMMX:

Landing runway is 5R/23L, and departing runway is 5L/23R. Heavy aircraft and some Aeromexico flights use only 5R/23L for depatures, mostly for being the longest runway. This may cause arivals into 5L/23R. Is very common seeing an arrival and a depature at the same time (in different runways of course).

FOR THE SAKE OF REALISM AND SAFETY, PARALLEL DEPATURES & PARALLEL LANDINGS ARE NOT ALLOWED IRL

And here is the taxiway accomodation for the B748 and the A380 (Aircraft Not Operating IRL)

Lufthansa is the only operator with the B748-Intercontinental, so well… only use Gate 26 in T1.

When landing, use the same path.


SID’s & STAR’s

I think with the Images will be enough…

Depatures:

Arrivals:


Silent Dangers in Mexico City

Although the airport is kinda big and we can see tons of traffic, it can be considered one of the most difficult airports in Latin America. First at all, the airport cannot grow up anymore, meaning that the airport is over the limits (ovrecrowd). However, IATA is investigating which maximum operations per hour should be used. Even with the opening of Santa Lucia and Toluca, MEX cannot take a breath.

Secondly (I think this is pretty notorious), is the terrain that surrounds Mexico City. This makes the airport dangerous. In my opinion, this is one of the reason why there is not a lot STAR’s here. Then, add the “hot & high”… literally: 7,300ft aprox. with temperatures that could go up to 30° C. This complicates the operations, as there is less air density.

Finally, the famous approach into the 05’s. Since you can’t actually go on a straight in from 10 miles due to the terrain, the arrivals start the final turn at 7.5-6nm from the threeshold. If we go to and airport which is 30ft MSL, it should be ok. However, turning final at that distance in MEX can be challenging, as there is low density, and we get on a risk of a stall.

So, here is some personal tips:

  1. Do not exceed 250kts at 10,000 AGL (in MEX, 17,500MSL). I’ve seen people approaching at crazy speeds since they are above 10K MSL. Don’t do that.
  2. When approaching the final turn to 05’s, do not exceed 160KIAS. It will help you out on a tight turn. On heavies, more use of flaps could be needed. (Flaps 20° aprox.) If you overshoot the LOC “a bit”, that’s ok.
  3. Landings speeds in GS will be inevitably higher. Use more (Auto)Brakes and reversers when on the landing roll.
  4. Use like 10-15% more of power when taking off. If necessary, use Full Throttle.
  5. Enjoy Mexico City! Is always good doing a visit there :)


Thank you for visiting this guide.

I hope this can be very useful for your next visit ;)

13 Likes

Is the altitude density replicated in IF as such that taking off from MEX would be different than AMS (below sea level)? Ive always wondered this.

1 Like

I flew many times into Mexico City in IF, and I can confirm that yes, the density and the temperatures play a huge part when operating there.

Hello. I’ve just added the runway lenghts so you can get some “explicit” information, and have an idea why the runway operations.

Let me know if you have any inquires. I’d be happy to help :)