Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Second terminal, new runway to go ahead despite compensation dispute

A long-running dispute over compensation for expropriated land will not prevent expansion at Guadalajara International Airport, the facility’s operator said, announcing that a second terminal and a new runway will go ahead.

Both will be built on land for which the airport operator already has a concession, circumventing the need to purchase it from community landowners engaged in the compensation dispute.

The Pacific Airport Group (GAP) presented a plan for the project to the federal Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT) and pending approval, construction will begin in January. The project will be completed by 2025 at the latest.

Airport director Martín Pablo Zazueta Chávez said that the terminal and runway will be built on land included in a concession acquired by GAP 20 years ago.

“. . . We’re going to maximize the use of our lands and our concession,” he said.

“[The terminal] will have all the elements of modernity and cutting-edge technology. It will be a very functional building and will have the capacity to serve both national and international passengers,” Zazueta told the newspaper El Economista.

He explained that the second terminal will be accessed via a new, separate entrance. Having two terminals and a second runway will enable the airport to meet passenger demand for the next 25 years, Zazueta said.

He said construction will take place while the airport continues to operate but stressed that the builders and airport management will aim to minimize the impact of the work on passengers. However, Zazueta conceded that there are “complicated years” ahead.

The airport chief didn’t reveal how much the new terminal will cost, explaining that the price tag will be disclosed once the SCT gives the green light.

Construction of the new airport infrastructure was planned for a 137-hectare parcel of land owned by the community landowners of the El Zapote ejido (cooperative).

However, the landowners have refused to sell the land until they are paid compensation for 307 hectares of land that the federal government expropriated for the airport in 1951.

Their refusal to cede the land has held up plans to expand the airport in Mexico’s second largest city, where demand for airline services has more than tripled over the past two decades.

Zazueta said that when GAP began operating the airport 20 years ago, it handled about 4.3 million passengers annually.

Last year, 14.35 million people used the airport while in 2019 the number of passengers is expected to exceed 15 million for the first time.

Source: Milenio (sp), El Economista (sp) 

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