Work to repair structural damage at Terminal 2 of the Mexico City International Airport (AICM) will begin “in a few days” and take 10 months to complete, Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said Tuesday.
Speaking at President López Obrador’s regular news conference, Sheinbaum said the project will cost about 400 million pesos (US $20 million) and is required due to problems related to how the 14-year-old building was designed.
López Obrador said in late July that the terminal has structural damage, is sinking and needs to be shored up to ensure it doesn’t collapse. The College of Mexican Aeronautics Engineers rejected the claim that the building was sinking, but Sheinbaum repeated the president’s assertion on Tuesday, saying that the land on which the terminal was built has sunk by as much as 1.2 meters since it opened in 2008.
“In this area of the city, there is subsidence that ranges from 30 centimeters to 1.2 meters. … It was decided to build a very heavy, very large, two-story building that had to have foundations with piles that reached the hard part of the soil,” she said, adding that the sinking phenomenon has caused “cavities between the piles and the ground.”
“These cavities have also caused cracks in the beams [that support the terminal]. It’s a building that was built … [without] the design that was needed,” Sheinbaum said.
“… It was a building that was planned for only 15 years despite it costing 10 billion pesos because it was supposedly going to be demolished because the international airport was going to be built in Texcoco,” she said, referring to the México state airport construction project canceled by López Obrador.
The mayor said that the repair work is needed to counter possible risks posed to the terminal by earthquakes, which frequently affect Mexico City.
“The first thing that has to be done is to fix all the beams,” Sheinbaum said. … On the other hand, … permanent filling [is needed] in the area where there are cavities,” she said.
The required studies have been completed, and the work will start “in a few days,” the mayor added. She said the project won’t interrupt the operations of Terminal 2 because all the work will be carried out in its “lower part.”
Earlier in López Obrador’s press conference, new AICM director Carlos Velázquez said that there had been a lack of investment in the airport during the 2012–2018 presidency of Enrique Peña Nieto. He noted that the Terminal 1 building is almost 70 years old and that the airport’s infrastructure has deteriorated over the years.
“[The deterioration is] mainly in Terminal 1, largely as a result of the lack of investment from 2014 to 2018 due to its projected closure,” Velázquez said, noting that the canceled Texcoco airport was under construction in that period.
The current government, in contrast, has allocated over 5.9 billion pesos (US $295 million) for maintenance and repair projects at AICM, he said, adding that the airport has contributed 1.3 billion pesos of its own resources to improving the facility.
The government announced in August that it would spend 600 million pesos to repair Terminal 2, 50% more than the figure cited by Sheinbaum.