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New Mexico City Airport Fate Up in the Air

Friday, August 17, 2018

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A $13.2 billion project in Mexico City that could eventually become one of the world’s largest airports is hanging in midair as the country’s president elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador—known as AMLO—has outlined concerns and some are calling for the stoppage of the project altogether.

What Happened

AMLO announced in a recent press conference the fate of the airport will ultimately 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.
Images: Foster + Partners

A $13.2 billion project in Mexico City that could eventually become one of the world’s largest airports is hanging in midair as the country’s president elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador—known as AMLO—has outlined concerns and some are calling for the stoppage of the project altogether.

Funding is one of the main points of contention surrounding the project as AMLO ran on a platform highlighting possible corruption and wasteful spending surrounding the plans during his campaign.

AMLO said that a meeting will be held with technical experts who are commissioned to audit the project and that their analysis will be turned over for comment to engineering associations, which will then give their recommendations.

"The debate in the media will be open to all those who have something to say. The topic will then be put to public consultation so that it will be the people who decide on this and all topics that are a matter of public interest," AMLO said.

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

The current design plan was the result of a conglomeration comprised of Foster + Partners, Fernando Romero Enterprise and Netherlands Airport Consultants. The group won an international architectural competition for the project in 2014.

The public consultation is slated to take place the last two weeks of October, and will set the stage of when AMLO takes office Dec. 1.

The Plans

The current design plan was the result of a conglomeration comprised of Foster + Partners, Fernando Romero Enterprise and Netherlands Airport Consultants. The group won an international architectural competition for the project in 2014.

If that plan comes to fruition, the airport would be one of the largest in the world with up to six runways and a 560,000-square-meter terminal. The scheme would also be Mexico’s largest infrastructure project and is being billed as a “sustainable airport” because it consists of just one giant terminal rather than a cluster of buildings.

Spans of the airport are in excess of 100 meters (the largest 170 meters) and designers say that they were influenced by Mexican architecture. A canopy of lightweight glass and steel with become a vaulted roof and construction will use a pre-fabrication system.

In late July, the group overseeing construction, Grupo Aeroportuario de la Ciudad de Mexico, suspended four contract tenders for the project indefinitely, until the public consultation is finalized.

   

Tagged categories: Airports; Design; Environmental Protection; Government

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