Benito Juárez airport Benito Juárez airport: 31.5 million passengers last year.

New airport announcement could come with EPN’s speech Tuesday

Mexico City’s new airport will have three runways and will cost at least 120 billion pesos. That’s the speculation this week, as expectations are high that President Peña Nieto will announce the new facility in his state-of-the-nation speech next Tuesday.

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Rumors have been swirling for months about adding new capacity to the existing Benito Juárez airport or building a brand new one.

Yesterday, Bloomberg News reported that people with direct knowledge of the plan anticipate an announcement soon. The anticipated site is five kilometers to the north of the existing airport, which would eventually be closed. The new one could begin operating in 2018.

There is plenty of room for expansion at the new location, said Bloomberg’s sources, and the number of runways could be doubled to six and a second terminal could be accommodated.

The current facility, which has two runways, is facing air-traffic congestion problems. It handled a record 31.5 million passengers last year, and is Latin America’s biggest in terms of the numbers of takeoffs and landings.

One source noted that the existing airport cannot handle simultaneous operations, while the new one is said to be capable of three, giving it “enormous capacity.”

“The airport is very urgent,” said Bernardo Velez of the brokerage firm Corporativo GBM. “It’s very positive that it would only take four years. That’s very quick.”

A construction industry association spokesman said Mexico’s largest construction company, Empresas ICA, and Carlos Slim’s Grupo Carso are among nine Mexican firms expected to make a joint bid on the project.

Sources: El Financiero (sp), Bloomberg (en)

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