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Passengers check in at Guadalajara airport Passengers check in at Guadalajara airport, whose operator plans to make it the best in Mexico.

Guadalajara airport’s upgrade to be carried out over 7 years not 5

A coronavirus slump in passenger numbers followed record-breaking traffic at the start of the year

The upgrade to the Guadalajara airport announced at the start of the year will be carried out over seven years rather than five, the facility’s director said Thursday.

The Pacific Airport Group (GAP) announced in February that it planned to invest 18 billion pesos (US $893.4 million) to upgrade the Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta airports between 2020 and 2024.

Speaking at a meeting on Thursday, Martín Pablo Zazueta said that a new proposal had been developed and that the upgrade in the Jalisco capital will be completed in 2026 rather than 2024.

He said that GAP is awaiting approval of the new plan from the federal Ministry of Communications and Transportation.

An additional runway and new terminal building are planned for the airport while the existing terminal will be renovated and expanded. The facility’s parking lot will also be expanded and a new “mixed use” complex that includes a hotel, offices and commercial establishments will be built.

Zazueta said that 6 billion pesos will be invested in the upgrade in the five years to the end of 2024 and an additional amount of about 4 billion pesos will be allocated in 2025 and 2026. The total investment of 10 billion pesos is 4 billion less than the amount announced in February.

Still, Zazueta said “the Guadalajara International Airport will achieve what was promised at the start of the year,” asserting, “we’re going to turn it into the best airport in Mexico.”

Once the upgrade is completed, the airport will have the capacity to handle more than 30 million passengers per year, according to GAP. Sixty percent more flights will be able to depart from and arrive at the facility.

That the upgrade is going ahead, albeit over a longer period, is welcome news for the airport, which saw passenger numbers slump due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Zazueta said that in 2019 and the first two months of 2020 passenger numbers were at record levels.

“Everything pointed to us having double digit growth [this year] and breaking the 16 million passengers barrier,” he said.

However, due to the pandemic the current projection is that only 8 million air travelers will have passed through the airport by the end of 2020, which would place this year’s passenger traffic on a par with 2013.

“That’s the size of the impact we’ve had,” Zazueta said.

However, the airport director expressed confidence that the airport can recover reasonably quickly.

“At a global level they’re saying that airports with the quickest recoveries could reach the level of passengers they had before the pandemic in a period of three years. The Guadalajara airport is in that range. We estimate that in 2023 we’ll reach the traffic we had in 2019.”

Source: El Economista (sp) 

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