Aeromexico delays flight for politician, lands in hot water


Aeromexico domestic flight AM198, destined to take off from Mexico City to Mexicali on May 24, 2019, was delayed for approximately half an hour to wait for a politician running late, causing an outrage.

Aeromexico Boeing 737 (registration number XA-AMZ)  was already preparing for take off, when it had to turn back as per “presidential order”, one passenger recalled on social media, quoting the captain’s explanation. The flight took off at 10:34 am local time, landing in Maxicali at 11:36 am (local time) – approximately 40 minutes later than usual, data shows.

When the late passenger boarded the plane, fellow traveled recognized her as Josefa González Blanco, the country’s secretary of Environment and Natural Resources. González Blanco later admitted causing the flight delay but claimed there was no presidential order. “I am the only one responsible for what happened. Presidency never intervened,” González Blanco said on social media, where she also announced her resignation.

The airline released an apology for the incident on May 27, 2019, calling the delay “unjustified” and claiming it never had a similar situation before. Aeromexico launched an investigation of what it calls an “anomalous situation” due to communication errors, the statement reads, adding that once the investigation is completed, findings will be forwarded to aviation authorities.

Ministry of Communications and Transportation launched an investigation of AM198 delay. As outlined in a statement by the ministry, Aeromexico risks a fine for breaching Civil Aviation Law Article 17.

The airline that “does not subject itself to the itineraries, flight frequencies, and authorized schedules, will be entitled to a fine of two hundred to one thousand Units of Measurement and Update […],” an excerpt from Article 17 is quoted in the ministry’s statement.

A privilege of a politician to hold up a plane stands in contrast to official agenda of Mexico’s new president Andrés Manuel López Obrador. He was elected in July 2018 after focusing his campaign on, besides other things, to reduce the inequality in the country.With promises such as to level out the inequality in the country, he was elected in July 2018. Starting his term in the office in December 2018, López Obrador announced putting up the luxurious presidential Air Force Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner on sale, opting for commercial flights in economy class instead.

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