President Andrs Manuel Lpez Obrador inaugurated the new facilities of the Military Air Base No. 1 (BAM-1) of Santa Luca yesterday, February 10, on which the Felipe ngeles International Airport (AIFA) has been built since October 2019 and for civil use.
To open the new BAM-1 facilities on Mexican Air Force Day (FAM), the President flew a FAM Boeing 737-800 from Mexico City International Airport (AICM) accompanied by his security cabinet. by governors of three neighboring states and special guests in a law that was published as the inauguration of part of the AIFA and even ensures that from today civil aircraft from commercial airlines can land.
The President and his entourage landed in Santa Luca at 9:12 a.m. The Boeing 737-800, registration 3527 belonging to Areo Squadron 502 (Orcas), drives taxis until it is on the FAM platform in front of the 11 hangars that are part of the AIFA infrastructure. Before the aircraft reached its final position, it passed the traditional arc formed by jets of pressurized water to be baptized along with the facilities of the military terminal.
Obrador went to BAM-1 in Santa Luca to celebrate the 106th anniversary of the FAM with commanders, as the presidents do every year. On that occasion, the President’s visit was different from the others, as the President announced it as the first phase of the final inauguration of the AIFA’s work that was already completed and operational, which has not yet happened. However, two hours after the FAM Boeing 737-800 landed, the Santa Luca central runway received the first civil aircraft, a commercial passenger jet from Viva Aerobs, on a passenger-free test flight.
Upon arrival at BAM-1, Obrador was met by General Gustavo Vallejo Surez, Head of Works at AIFA, who showed him models and explained the construction progress. The President greeted the Air College cadet escort doing the honor and went to breakfast with the troops that were in small numbers on the occasion due to COVID.
Recalling the beginnings of military aviation in Mexico, FAM commander General Gerardo Vega Rivera stated that it was the celebration of the 106th anniversary of the creation of the Mexican Air Force. Its origins date back to February 5, 1915, when Don Venustiano Carranza, first chief of the constitutional army and in charge of the nation’s executive power, created the aviation military force.
That same year, the establishment of the National Aviation School and National Aviation Construction Workshops laid the groundwork for aviators’ professional training and participation in myriad historical events that enabled the Air Force’s constitutional recognition as an armed institution on February 10, 1944, 77 years ago since that memorable date, the air command determined.
General Vega Rivera stated that the FAM today has more than 12,000 women and men who serve Mexico as pilots, specialists and paratroopers, further strengthening their skills with prepared personnel, professional, technically and axiologically modern flight material and means of monitoring the national airspace, which guarantees the fulfillment of the general missions anchored in the Organic Law of the Mexican Army and Air Force.
The numbers of the Mexican Air Force
Commander Vega Rivera gave a brief report on what has been done in this government marked by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the current administration we have carried out 136,000 flight hours in more than 100,000 flight operations inside and outside the national territory, in reconnaissance activities, in the extermination of drug plants by air injection; Monitoring the pipelines of Petrleos Mexicanos; Transporting brigades from the National Forest Service and discharging water to fight fires in the state of Oaxaca; and transfer of 450 tons of waste, food and various supplies and 10 heavy duty pumping equipment due to the floods in Tabasco and Chiapas states to help the civilian populations of these units by applying the DN-IIIE plan, and five international flights carrying more than 58 tons of humanitarian Transport aid to sister countries in Central America.
He explained that for health reasons, around a thousand flight hours were spent on the humanitarian repatriation of 1,661 nationals and foreigners to and from nine countries, as well as 250 urns of ashes from Mexicans who died of COVID-19 in the United States.
In this dynamic, 2,326 health professionals and specialist technicians, 434 tons of equipment and medical supplies, the transportation of 65 patients to air ambulances and the distribution of approximately 420,000 vaccines to the most distant parts of the country were carried out.
It was noted that the Air Force has control centers, long-range radars, aerial platforms with detection equipment, aircraft and personnel ready to assure the sovereignty of the airspace in the Department of Defense’s comprehensive area surveillance system to carry out their missions.
These resources help insure air and land vehicles, drugs, weapons, and money, and prevent organized crime from using them for their illegal activities to the detriment of society. He added that the military education system has strengthened aviation agencies by laying off 578 officers and 870 sergeants trained with bachelor and technical level professional training, with military values, institutional commitment and a sense of duty that guarantees their effectiveness in compliance of the missions entrusted to the Air Force.
Among those officers, he said, there are 35 female Air Force pilots, meteorologists and air traffic controllers, and 54 female sergeants in the Second Air Force will soon be graduating for the first time.
You will contribute to the strengthening of our institution in equal circumstances and in an inclusive and supportive environment and you will take care of the Agreement on Equality between Women and Men of the Government of the Republic and the program of this heading of the Ministry of National Defense in How to Become Female Graduates Occupy positions that were previously reserved for male employees, he explained.
A video to celebrate FAM’s 106th anniversary then showed numbers of their work in the fight against COVID, indicating that the Air Force transferred more than 430 tons of medical supplies in 266 flights during the pandemic, which add up to something more than 487 flight hours or more recently due to the floods in the states of Tabasco and Chiapas, where more than 380 tons of supplies were transported in 99 flight operations with almost 200 flight hours.
Regarding the construction of the Felipe Angeles International Airport, the video revealed that the work currently highlights the employment of 1,272 military personnel and 38,120 civilians, as well as the creation of a total of 74,819 jobs throughout the project. In his in-depth speech, President Lpez Obrador reported on historical events in connection with the establishment of the Mexican Air Force, paid tribute to its sacrifices and contributions to the country, the commitment of its members and their recent achievements in the fight against COVID.
He also spoke about the construction of the Felipe Angeles International Airport and congratulated the military engineers who are gradually consolidating the work. He announced that he would return to the BAM-1 facilities on February 19 to open new military facilities. Prior to this, the President presented 25 members of the FAM with awards for outstanding events.
One of the awardees was General Miguel Eduardo Hernndez Velzquez, who piloted the Gruman that brought former Bolivian President Evo Morales to Mexico after the stadium coup that overthrew him in 2019. However, the general was absent because he was sick with COVID. it was declared during the ceremony. (Jorge Alejandro Medelln)
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