Strengthening Capacities of Airport and Aviation Authorities in Mexico to Respond to Hurricanes 

Participants during the Hurricane Response Workshop12 September 2018, Mérida, Mexico - The International Training Centre for Authorities and Leaders in Mérida (CIFAL Merida) in collaboration with the Group of Airports of the Southeast of Mexico (ASUR) and the Mérida International Airport hosted in Merida a capacity building workshop on “Hurricane Response” for government agencies and airports assist them to respond quickly to hurricanes. 

The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season officially began on June 1, 2018, and will end on November 30, 2018. The National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration  predicts a total of 9-13 storms (winds of 39 mph or greater) of which 4-7 will become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or greater), including 2 major hurricanes (winds of 111 mph or greater).

Considering that the Yucatan Peninsula is entering the height of hurricane season and everyone needs to be prepared, CIFAL Merida aims to assist airport authorities and government officials to have hurricane preparedness and response plans in place.

During the inauguration of the workshop, Mr. Hector Navarrete, Director of CIFAL Merida and Director of ASUR encouraged participants to “review their emergency protocols and procedures in the event of a major hurricane and to minimize the potential impact on airports as they become the gateway for humanitarian assistance during disasters”. Airports must have preparedness plans and respond quickly before and after a natural disaster, Mr. Navarrete stressed.

Mr. Hector Navarrete, Director of CIFAL Merida addressing workshop participantsThe workshop brought together 76 participants representing airport and civil aviation authorities, traffic controllers, dispatchers, runway personnel, airlines, and ground services providers. The Merida Airport Administrator Mr. Oscar Carrillo Maldonado shared its hurricane response manual and presented an assessment of the impact caused by Hurricane Wilma in 2005 and Isidoro in 2003 to analyze the effects that hurricanes can cause to airport infrastructures and its collateral impact.

Mr. Luis Cortazar Vivas, Commander of the Rescue Corps of the Meteorological Information Center for Airports (Centro de Información Meteorológica para Aeropuertos, CIMA) shared its emergency and response plan during disasters. Also, Ms. Ana Cristina Muñoz Bello, Manager at Merida Airport presented the emergency plan that the airport has in place to assist employees and families in the event of a hurricane.

Ms. Ana Cristina Muñoz Bello from Merida International Airport presenting emergency planSince 2005, CIFAL Mérida and the Mérida International Airport have been providing training on how federal, state, local governments, civil aviation and airport authorities can better and quickly respond to hurricanes, ensuring citizens well-being. In March 2018, other capacity building workshops took place in Mérida and Miami in collaboration with the National Hurricane Center in Miami and aid agencies. 


Photo 1: Participants during the Hurricane Response Workshop
Photo 2: Mr. Hector Navarrete, Director of CIFAL Merida addressing workshop participants
Photo 3: Ms. Ana Cristina Muñoz Bello from Merida International Airport presenting emergency plan