Runway needed to accommodate growth. Runway needed to accommodate growth.

Airport operator plans to invest 1.8 billion

A new runway in Guadalajara is on GAP's spending list

Airport operator Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico (GAP) will invest around 1.8 billion pesos (US $97 million) this year in the 12 airports it operates.

GAP said that around 1 billion pesos is for commitments in its five-year master development program (PMD), 600 million pesos is for projects designed to increase operational capacity that were postponed to this year from 2017 and 200 million pesos is for commercial investment.

The Miguel Hidalgo International Airport in Guadalajara is to be one of the biggest beneficiaries.

In an interview with the newspaper Milenio, company CEO Fernando Bosque Mohíno explained that a large investment at the Guadalajara facility will be used to continue remodeling work that started last year and to purchase land to build a second runway.

For the latter project, GAP has a 340-million-peso (US $6.3-million) budget.

Bosque said that purchasing the land was a priority and that the company is currently working with the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT) to complete the process.

“It’s not that the SCT has to carry out [the process] on its own, we’re all there, first identifying who the owners are, defining the areas, getting a valuation, that’s the process we are in,” he said.

However, a longstanding dispute with ejidatarios, or community landowners, who claim that they haven’t been fully compensated for land that was expropriated in 1975 to build existing facilities, is testament to the difficulties the company is likely to face.

In October, the CEO estimated that the new runway could be finished by 2022 but conceded that it depended on negotiations with ejidatarios to acquire the 327 hectares of communal land it needs. If an agreement cannot be reached, expropriation could be the next step.

Once the land is secured one way or another, preparing it for construction will take one year and construction itself will take two more.

Building a second runway is considered urgent to keep pace with the current growth in traffic. GAP estimates that passenger numbers at the Guadalajara airport would grow by 8% this year.

“In the case of Guadalajara, we’re likely going to increase by 1 or 1.1 million passengers . . .” Bosque said, adding that passenger numbers are expected to reach 14 million in 2018.

The total cost of the new runway is expected to be around 4 billion pesos (US $214 million) and the expansion would allow the airport to handle over 40 million passengers annually.

Among the 11 other airports GAP operates are those in Tijuana, Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos and Morelia.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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