Dozens of workers rush to build the new Felipe Angeles International Airport (AIFA) which will serve the Mexico Cityan emblematic project of the president’s government Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador which will start work on March 21 with few flights.
The new terminal to be completed in the military air base of St luciaa suburb of the capital, seeks to reduce pressure Mexico City International Airportone of the busiest in Latin America: in 2021 it moved 36 million passengers and in 2019 it set a record of 50.3 million.
In an AFP tour through the work, both the terminal building and the control tower and the military installations appear finished and one of the three runways is already receiving military flights.
Inside the terminal, with Mexican music playing in the background, some workers put up canopies and electrical installations. The bathrooms display colorful images of mariachis and wrestlers, the most sought after among tourists.
But at the entrance to the terminal building or the entrances from the highway, there are still dozens of workers and heavy trucks working.
“There is a real physical progress of 87.3 percent. We still have 60 days of work left (…) to complete it. international airport“Captain Diego Díaz Ávila, a construction assistant for the group of engineers at the army.
Following the controversial cancellation of a millionaire project for a HUB type air terminal in neighboring Texcoco, López Obrador commissioned this work — which cost about $ 3.6 billion — to the military, which is also involved in other flagship projects of his government, such as tourism. Mayan trend.
Diaz said it in his first phase of surgerythe new airport will be able to carry 19.5 million passengers annually.
Until now only low cost Mexican lines Volaris Y Long live Aerobus operations announced in St luciain addition to his flights at the capital’s airport. Aeromexicothe largest in the country, refused to do so at this initial stage.
Volaris will operate routes to the resort Cancunin the Mexican Caribbean Islands, and Tijuanawhile Long live Aerobus will fly to Guadalajara Y Monterrey.
“These are very commercial routes, with great demand in our country,” says Brian Rodríguez, an analyst for the aviation sector at financial company Monex.
Rodríguez said the airlines using Santa Lucía would initially do so on an experimental basis, without relocating all of their operations.
“They are not going there in an important way, let’s say they give the complex the opportunity to work there, see cost capacity, demand and how profitable it can be,” he said.
Given that Santa Lucía is about 40 km from the historic center of the capital, the specialist believes that the airlines will try to attract residents of the area, between four and five million.
“It’s more focused on a specific market segment,” he said.
The AFP consulted the chief international airlines employed in Mexico –British Airways, Air France, Iberia, Lufthansa Y American Airlines– to find out if they intend to work in the new terminal.
Only American Airlines responded: it will maintain its 13 daily flights between the airport Mexico City Y US. “We currently have no changes to our operations,” a spokesman said.
From the beginning, Santa Lucía sparked controversy when it replaced the ambitious airport project that the presidency of Enrique Pena Nieto (2012-2018) developed in Texcoco, at a cost of $ 13,000 million.
López Obrador described that work as “pharaonic” and pointed out that it was riddled with corruption.
López Obrador canceled that project on December 1, 2018 before taking power. referendumfiercely criticized for not being representative.
For several analysts, this decision has a break with the private initiative and a mistrust that has hit the levels of private investment in mexico.
However, López Obrador defended both the consultation and the new airport this Monday.
“We were very happy at first because the people decided not to build (the Texcoco airport) in the consultation because the people have an accurate instinct, the people are wise,” the president said during his morning conference.
“Seeing the construction process these days is something unique, of how progress has been made,” he added, while insisting that Santa Lucia be inaugurated on March 21.
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