Mexico City’s Benito Juárez International closed one of its two runways Sunday after heavy rains created a huge pothole, airport authorities said.
The damage took 10 hours to repair and impacted at least 41 flights.
“The abundant amount of rainfall during this season and the constant landing of airplanes cause the detachment of gravel in the area where aircraft touches down on the runway,” officials posted on social media. “Since this is a critical area, it requires an immediate repair, for which the runway must be closed for safety reasons.”
The rain made repaving the runway more difficult, officials commented.
Seven arrivals and 28 departures were delayed while three were canceled and another three diverted, they said.
Lufthansa’s flight LH498 from Frankfurt and an American Airlines flight from Washington had to divert to Querétaro. Aeromexico’s arrival from Cancun diverted to Acapulco.
Mexico City International Airport leads Latin America in delays and cancellations, said Simple Flying.
The overwhelmed facility counted 3,072 delays between April 1 and June 29, almost three times more than the second-worst airport at Cancún, with 1,370 flight delays.
This high number of delays has impacted the operations of Mexico’s three largest airlines: Aeromexico, Viva Aerobus, and Volaris.
Declared to be at its saturation point, the airport’s hourly operations were recently capped and no airline is allowed to launch new flights unless they go to the new Felipe Ángeles International Airport or the one in Toluca.
The main airport had been neglected by the Mexican authorities, said Simple Flying, when the previous government was building the now-abandoned Texcoco International Airport.