Mexico clears the way for the construction of airport in military base

Mexico clears the way for the construction of airport in military base

The construction of a new civil airport at the Santa Lucía military base outside Mexico City, which replaces the controversial Texcoco project, has been definitively cleared and in a few weeks the works will begin.

"We started the studies for the Santa Lucia airport in January, and the heavy machinery, if I remember correctly, will be in March," said the president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

In his morning press conference, the president explained that very soon the construction of a new runway and the communication route between the current capital airport and the new terminal will begin.

"In three years we will have three tracks in Santa Lucia," predicted the president, who estimated savings of up to 100,000 million pesos (5,015 million dollars) of this project, compared to Texcoco, a work of 13,300 million Dollars.

Part of the good progress of this project, said López Obrador today, is due to the good offer to repurchase bonds from the previous capital airport.

The "overwhelming support" of bondholders of the New Mexico International Airport (NAIM) to the proposal of the Mexican financial authorities reduced the uncertainties about the future of the airport system of the Mexican capital, according to the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit.

The Mexican government appreciated the cooperation of the investors to ensure the successful outcome of the bond transaction of the Mexico City Airport Trust (MEXCAT).

In this regard, Gabriela Siller, director of Economic-Financial Analysis of the Base Bank, told Efe that the response of the Treasury proposal to the holders of the bonds had as a benefit "less uncertainty in the local market".

This allows the Mexican government to cancel the airport project in Texcoco "without increasing the risk of putting pressure on public finances in the face of possible default" on the debt issued, "he said.

The airport of Texcoco, a work of about 13,000 million dollars, was canceled by the Government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador after a controversial citizen consultation that favored the civil conversion of the military base of Santa Lucía.

Once the financial issue of the new airport has been overcome, the López Obrador government has a green light for the Santa Lucia project, which will operate as part of a system that includes the current airports in Mexico City and Toluca.

The forecasts of the Mexican government suggest that the reform of the Mexico City airport will cost about 3,000 million pesos (156.4 million dollars), another 1,000 and 2,000 million (50.1 and 100.3 million dollars) the Toluca, the latter in the central State of Mexico and 70 kilometers away from the capital terminal.

In his daily press conference, the Mexican president expressed his approval for the agreement to purchase the bonds because "it was possible to reach an agreement without speculation and with the freedom of the Government to make the decision that best suits the airport" .

López Obrador informed that the construction of the civil aerodrome in Santa Lucía will be in charge of the Mexican Army, considering that its personnel have the capacity to do so, in addition to the resources already provided for in the 2019 spending budget.

For the airport system of the Mexican capital are contemplated in next year's budget about 18,000 million pesos (902.7 million dollars), said sources from the Ministry of Finance.

The Undersecretary of Finance, Arturo Herrera, confirmed to the Mexican press that this investment will be distributed between the air terminals of Mexico City and Toluca and "a part for the potential airport of Santa Lucia.

Herrera explained that in principle, the Government of Mexico has assigned the work to the Army because the land is in a military zone.

"The current airport of Santa Lucia is a military airport, any work that starts there, is a work that is being done in a field of the Secretariat of National Defense (SEDENA)," he said.

The decision of the Mexican Government to give the construction of Santa Lucia to the Army leaves out of business, for now, the large construction companies in the country, which were in charge of NAIM, whose work is semi-paralyzed.

Although these companies, including the Carso Group of Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, have not commented on the matter, the López Obrador administration has opened the possibility that its agreements are directed to other infrastructure works such as the Mayan Train, which will be built in the southeast of the country.


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