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Airlines Put on Extra Sections for Long Weekend

By: Patrick Ellis | Real Acapulco News - 02 February, 2011

(Acapulco, AN 2 February) Acapulco’s international airport reports that national airlines will double their flights to Acapulco for the upcoming long holiday weekend. Others will use extra-capacity aircraft. Aeromexico, Aeromar and Interjet are all participating. During the week the airlines use commuter-size aircraft, around 50 passengers each. The plan is to increase flights or boost capacity to 100-150 passengers.

Canadian tourism continues to flourish in Acapulco with three weekly charter arrivals from Montreal and Toronto. Chartered aircraft passenger capacity averages 168.

Meanwhile, Acapulco’s Port Authority took pains to refute reports, made by a local tour guide organization, that cruise ship arrivals will drop off this year because of fears of violence, bad service and high fees. In 2010, 138 ships arrived in port. The director of the port authority, Octavio González Flores, said that in 2011 the number should be about the same. He admitted that some shipping companies have taken Acapulco off their itineraries (Mariner of the Seas, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Star), but it was, according to González Flores, “for reasons of increases in the cost of fuel and a drop in demand for destinations in the North Pacific coast.” They had announced their decisions well in advance. “In the case of Norwegian Star, they gave us three years’ notice,” he said. At the same time, new cruise ships have taken their place, like the Mexican cruise line “Ocean Star.” He said that tourists are unaffected by violence in the poor suburbs, which are miles away from the port. During the 2009-10 season, according to the Port Authority Director, 250,000 passengers came through the marine terminal, with only 10 reported incidents of a robbery or other security problem, and “7 of these were suffered by passengers of one ship, the Carnival Spirit, the only boat arriving at 1:00 am.”

The tour guides had also claimed that the drop in cruise ship arrivals was due to poor services in the port from the Port Authority. Director González Flores denied the charge. We do not allow the ships to jettison their garbage or oil in the port, because it would saturate the city’s drainage system; but we are not the only port to impose that restriction. He also said that Acapulco’s system of fees for the cruise ships is similar to those of other ports. “If the ships leave by 5:00 pm instead of much later, it is not to save money on fees. We have no time limit on when they can leave. If they leave the port, it is because they have planned the departure for that hour in their itineraries,” he clarified.

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