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Mexican President Talks New Airport Terminal

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

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At an event earlier this week Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador briefly described plans for the country’s main airport, saying that it will get a third terminal.

“All this space—where there’s the presidential hangar, for example, and also the army base—will be converted into a new terminal in the Benito Juarez airport,” he said, according to the Associated Press.

Some Background

Obrador’s comments are the first that’s come to light in terms of airport plans since the plans for a new Mexico City airport were scrapped in October.

stockcam / Getty Images

At an event earlier this week Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador briefly described plans for the country’s main airport, saying that it will get a third terminal.

That $13.3 billion facility, designed by Foster + Partners, was about one-third complete when a public referendum ended the project with about 70 percent of voters choosing to end construction.

In August, Obrador had announced in a press conference the fate of the airport would be left up to public opinion and the masses will decide whether to:

  • Cancel the plans and replace the new airport design with two additional runways at the Santa Lucia military airport, linked to the existing airport, or
  • Tender the development and allow private investors to fund the construction.

Funding was one of the main points of contention surrounding the project as Obrador, who officially came into office in December, ran on a platform highlighting possible corruption and wasteful spending surrounding the plans during his campaign.

The stability of the project—in addition to the money concerns—were also at the forefront for those opposing the airport. The People’s Front in Defense of Land-Atenco, a political group, had been in strict opposition of the project since its conception in 2014. The group argued that the new airport wasn’t viable for several reasons, including the land surrounding the site, which it says is unsuitable for construction, citing the presence of subterranean water and other environmental concerns.

Only about 1.2 percent of Mexico’s registered voters turned out for the referendum—which was held over four days.

Obrador said at the time that canceling the project will save the federal government around 100 billion pesos ($5 billion) and that updating the existing airport would cost about 70 billion pesos.

Recent Comments

Earlier this week, in addition to the talks of a new terminal, Obrador promised to refurbish the existing runway and modernize the facility, which sees about 40 million passengers annually.

He also said that a military base would be turned into an airport and his administration would encourage more use of the airport in the city of Toluca, which lies about 39 miles west of Mexico City.


Tagged categories: Airports; Government; Latin America; Maintenance + Renovation; North America; Terminals; Upcoming projects

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