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Business leaders warn conflict threatens gridlock at Guadalajara airport

Unresolved dispute with communal landowners has delayed expansion plans

A long-running land dispute that is holding up expansion of the Guadalajara International Airport has the potential to cause gridlock at the facility, business leaders warn.

César Castro Rodríguez, a director of the Mexican Chamber of the Electronics, Telecommunications and Information Technologies Industries (Canieti), said the airport’s capacity has already been exceeded.

“We’re growing a lot on an industry level, we’re moving a lot of cargo but also passengers . . . The airport no longer has the capacity to meet all the demand we have,” he said.

Communal landowners in El Zapote, Jalisco, have claimed for years that they were not fully compensated for land that was expropriated for the airport in 1975.

This year, the landowners have protested against the dispossession of 51 hectares of land, which they say belongs to them. Expansion of the airport is planned on the contested land.

Miguel Ángel Landeros Volquarts, president of the western branch of the Mexican Business Council for Foreign Trade, blamed a “lack of political will” on the part of the federal government for the failure to resolve the legal conflict and warned that the airport had reached a critical point.

“The airport already has saturation peaks and in a short time we will have an airport that could be brought to a halt. So it’s very important that the conflict is resolved. But this isn’t an issue about money . . . this is an issue that can be resolved in a political way,” he said.

“We’re very concerned that there could be complications soon. We want to prevent that.”

Jalisco Economic Development Secretary José Palacios Jiménez said the dispute between the federal government and the El Zapote landowners is a matter that “must be resolved with the greatest urgency.”

Source: El Economista (sp) 

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