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Head of Mexico City navigation services resigns after a “ground alarm” between two planes

Mexico City, Mexico — The head of air traffic control in Mexico City resigned hours after a two plane incident over the weekend. Víctor Hernández, the now ex-Director of Servicios a la Navegación en el Espacio Aéreo Mexicano (SENEAM), resigned Sunday after a nighttime incident between two Volaris planes.

The Secretariat of Infrastructure, Communications and Transportation (SICT) of Mexico has begun an investigation into the incident that was videoed by the copilot of another plane on the tarmac showing one Volaris plane landing while a second was given permission to take off.

The incident is being referred to as an air traffic control error after an Airbus A320 was making a night flight between Mazatlán and Mexico City. While the plane was landing on Runway 05 just after 4:00 a.m. Sunday, another Volaris plane had been cleared for takeoff on the same runway.

The incident was videoed early Sunday morning at the Mexico City International Airport (AICM). It is said to be only another in a list of concerns expressed by officials over the past year where 17 other “ground alarms” were recorded at the AICM.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) sent a letter last week expressing its concerns about the ongoing alarms. The National Union of Air Traffic Controllers, had also expressed concerns about anomalies such as lack of training.

After a Sunday morning meeting in which Víctor Hernández was present, transport officials accepted his resignation.

Rogelio Jiménez Pons, the Undersecretary of Transportation, said Hernández created a bad work environment among air traffic controllers for a lack of training and heavy workloads, which can eventually cause incidents.

“Nobody agreed with him (Víctor Hernández), nobody spoke well of him in the meeting we had,” Pons said. “He was left in office because he had to finish his task of starting AIFA, which has already happened. Since Sunday morning, the decision was made to excuse him,” he said.

Ricardo Torres Muela has been named in his place.