Guadalajara’s airport needs a new runway if it’s to keep pace with the current growth in traffic.
The Miguel Hidalgo International Airport in the capital city of Jalisco is struggling to keep up with economic growth and passenger numbers that are increasing by 10% a year on average.
“We’re already behind by two years,” said Fernando Bosque Mohino, general manager of Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico (GAP), the firm that operates the airport. He estimated that the new runway could be completed by 2022, but that depends on negotiations with the community landowners of the El Zapote ejido.
The expansion requires 327 hectares of communal lands, and Bosque estimated that the negotiations to acquire them could take two years. If they’re not successful, expropriation could be the next step.
A Jalisco representative of the federal Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT) said the department hopes to resolve the land issue in the first quarter of next year. “. . . it’s urgent to have a resolution . . . .”
Ejidatarios, or community landowners, might not agree. They have been arguing for years that they are still owed money for the land on which the airport sits. Two weeks ago they said the federal government owes them over 4.5 billion pesos (US $243 million).
Once the land for the new runway is secured, preparing it for construction will take one year and construction itself will take two more. Then the runway must be certified and tested before it can be put into operation.
“The cycle requires too many details,” Bosque said.
The cost of the new runway will be about 4 billion pesos (US $216 million), a price tag that includes new and expanded access roads to the airport.
The expansion would allow the airport to handle over 40 million passengers a year.
Other work at the airport is going to see the waiting lounge enlarged by 9,000 square meters and the installation of new washroom facilities and cargo and passenger elevators.
The terminal currently handles 160,000 tonnes of cargo and 13 million passengers a year, and moves 424,000 pieces of luggage every month. The airport employs about 10,000 people.