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Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador will transfer control of the capital’s main airport to the armed forces as part of his efforts to combat corruption and mismanagement, amid concerns about the military’s increased involvement in civilian affairs, the Associated Press reported.

The plan will see the navy take full control of Mexico City International Airport, the country’s oldest and busiest airport. The move comes more than a year after the navy took charge of airport security.

Meanwhile, the military will continue running a newly-built airport outside the capital and is scheduled to begin operating its own commercial airline by the end of the year.

Officials explained that the changes seek to address burgeoning problems arising at the airport, such as drug shipments, illegal migration, infrastructure problems and stolen luggage. Corruption within the airport has been a serious issue, including instances where coded messages were sent using the airport’s internal communications to hold up baggage inspections so narcotic shipments could pass untouched.

The conditions have prompted the US Federal Aviation Administration to downgrade Mexico’s aviation safety rating, which has hindered Mexican airlines from expanding flights to its neighbor.

While the navy’s operational control at the airport may address a number of security issues, analysts doubt that it will resolve other problems. They suggested that Mexican aviation requires more funding, training, and inspections to enhance its competitiveness globally.

Even so, López Obrador has planned to give the military control of dozens of airports throughout the country by the end of his term which expires next year.

Since he took office in 2018, the president has frequently relied on the armed forces for assistance in non-traditional tasks, such as entrusting them with immigration duties, control of ports and customs, and infrastructure projects.

Critics noted that the decision to give the armed forces more control contradicts international aviation recommendations that separate military and civilian operations.

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