Getting to the new Mexico City airport by train from the center of the capital will take 45 minutes, President López Obrador reiterated Sunday.
The president posted a video to social media in which he appears riding in a train to the Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA) – located about 50 kilometers north of downtown Mexico City in México state – with his wife and federal and state officials.
In a written message accompanying the video, López Obrador said the train will take 45 minutes to reach the airport from the Buenavista station, located near the historic center of Mexico City.
The train will run on the existing tracks used by the Mexico City suburban train between the Buenavista and Lechería stations before continuing on new tracks to the army-built AIFA, which is scheduled to open next March.
The new section, still under construction, will be 23 kilometers long and include five stations. México state Governor Alfredo del Mazo, one of the officials who accompanied López Obrador on the train, said the new tracks are expected to be completed in February.
Se amplía a 8 carriles la autopista México-Pachuca. Se están construyendo otras vialidades y la vía de Lechería al aeropuerto Felipe Ángeles para llegar en tren desde el centro de la ciudad, estación Buenavista, hasta el nuevo aeropuerto en 45 minutos. pic.twitter.com/Rh0z4CMvvc
— Andrés Manuel (@lopezobrador_) December 5, 2021
Some 3.2 billion pesos (US $151 million) has been invested in the rail link, and the project has employed more than 700 people.
In his social media message, López Obrador also noted that people will be able to reach the AIFA via new and existing highways.
“The Mexico City-Pachuca highway is being widened to eight lanes. Other highways are being built …” he wrote.
The government has faced criticism for deciding to build the new airport so far from the center of Mexico City, and there have been reports and assertions on social media that it could take up to 2 1/2 hours to reach it by road from the capital.
López Obrador, who canceled the previous government’s airport project and chose instead to build the 80-billion-peso (US $3.8 billion) AIFA on the Santa Lucía Air Force Base, has defended the decision, noting that his administration is investing in transportation links and that many airports around the world are located on the outskirts of the cities they serve.
“The journey won’t be very long because we’re building highways; you’ll be able to go from here in the center [of Mexico City] to there in 45 minutes by train, we’re doing [what’s needed] so it doesn’t take a long time to arrive,” he said in October.
Meanwhile, a journalist created a stir on Twitter after charging that the video was a simulation, evidence of which was an apparent failure in the supposedly pre-recorded video that gave the impression that the train was moving across the area between the airport and the capital.
The view from the windows suddenly went blank, just as the president was describing where they were on the journey.
Journalist Joaquín López-Dóriga said on Twitter that López Obrador and his party were actually inside a simulator and that the train was not moving at all. Former president Felipe Calderón chimed in, claiming the video was “fake news.”
However, one commenter said the blank image was likely caused by dust reflecting light back at the camera that was shooting the event aboard the train. In another part of the video there was evidence of a dust storm.